How will emerging technologies in 2020 and beyond impact the decisions learning leaders make about their teams? So whether that’s how we upskill for capabilities or develop our people to prepare for new roles – especially roles or new positions that haven’t existed before – what do we need to be thinking about emerging technology’s impact on our L&D teams? 

Learning Leader Q&A, 2019 Fredrickson Learning Summit | Minneapolis, MN

Start with the assumption that as all organizations shift from information processing to cognitive computing, that it’s highly likely all of the emerging technologies presented today will become maturing technologies in your organization tomorrow, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, 5G, chatbots, voice, Blockchain, etc. 

The question is – when?

Learning leaders can then use the measure of timing to segment how they think about impact across three (3) time horizons. This segmentation allows learning leaders to prioritize, plan and prepare accordingly while staying in alignment – and keeping pace – with the business:

Less than 12 months: Prepare for near term disruption. Which technologies are operations and/or product & service delivery currently adopting that your organization will become familiar with and look to leverage in other areas, like L&D? In addition, which L&D routine tasks can you augment or automate now – right now – given availability of current solutions? What are your peers and competitors using to cut costs or improve service?

1-3 Years: Prepare for midterm disruption. Which technologies are on your organization’s technology roadmap over the next one to three years? How will L&D need to upskill itself and the workforce to successfully adopt these business processes, policies, enabling technologies and new ways of working for full benefits realization? 

Consult the latest L&D capability frameworks, such as the Learning & Performance Institute (LPI) Capability Map 

LPI Capability Map - mapping the essential skills for modern L&D

Learning leaders and their L&D teams can take the free LPI Capability Map assessment online to set individual baseline and targeted development goals, based on competency, skill and overall capability gaps. 

Results can be aggregated for a holistic view and targeted investment in skilling up based on collective team needs.

Modern capabilities can also be drawn from the LPI Capability Map, in areas such as Marketing, Design Thinking, Analytics, Technology (ie Learning Engineering, Chatbot Linguistics, etc) – to name a few.

4-10 Years: In this volatile local and global environment, it can be difficult to forecast exactly what the business landscape, marketplace, competitive landscape and customer demands may look like beyond 3 years out, but learning leaders can work with their teams and stakeholders to brainstorm possible scenarios and the likelihood and potential impact of each. Classic risk management. What If? scenarios can then be prepared and cross-checked for commonalities. Common characteristics most likely to occur and with the severest potential impacts from across scenarios can be used in earlier planning phases to set a foundation, regardless of which scenario(s) come to pass. 

How to start?

Learning leaders and their teams must start with an honest assessment of their team’s current skills, routine activities and even job roles and identify those tasks, activities, skills, roles already ripe for augmentation or automation. Taking a proactive stance means you and your team can disrupt yourselves on your own terms versus suffer the consequences of being disrupted on someone else’s.