What is the present and the future holding for digital learning?
Teemu Torvelainen, Datafisher’s new head of Digital Learning at Work team, shares his views about learning at work. He breaks some common misconceptions about digital-learning and reminds us to focus on the impact of learning that goes far beyond lean management and strong strategies. With a big Cheshire cat’s smile, he shares his secrets.
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Welcome aboard! What has brought you to Datafisher?
Teemu: I see Datafisher really being a bit different to other Digital learning offices. I can feel like being in Barcelona or any other international marketplace when I see my brilliant Brazilian, South Korean, Israeli or Finnish colleagues, for example. The atmosphere is really international, youthful and inspiring. Not to mention we have now three ex-IBMers here. Think!
What does digital learning at work mean to you?
Teemu: Digital learning is an essential part of all the successful companies today. In many cases digital learning already starts when a prospective employee searches information of the company. Induction, way of working, the “house rules” are often the first things a new person gets to know.
Having power-points shared across the organization isn’t enough. Learning materials must be concise, relevant, interesting and even entertaining, yet easily measured and always targeted. The different is tracking and monitoring your performance all the time – it’s like having a digital pulse meter on you, but this meter keeps you up to date with essential corporate information.
Is e-learning in the cost-cutting business?
Teemu: Digital learning is not only a cost-effective, but in many cases the only feasible way to reach personnel in different locations, and keep the message consistent. Time is money.
Alright, if I am a corporate’s decision maker, what should you advise me to remember about digital-learning?
Teemu: Digital learning is not just cutting costs. It helps companies to react fast with changes, maintain skill levels and learn new things fast. I always start from the end – what do you want to achieve and how are you going to measure it?
How can corporates maximize their benefits from digital learning?
Teemu: There is no silver bullet. Careful planning and selecting the right elements for total learning experience and impact with world class partner that knows its area.
Personally, I am always impressed with programs that are well planned: When there is a clear user group, defined and measurable targets, maybe different digital learning elements supporting the change/learning along the way, and obviously a committed program owner.
What is the future of the e-learning industry?
Teemu: I think we are now getting close to the situation where people are used to digital learning and study a lot on their own. In business world class room training is felt old fashioned. I think one of the challenges is to have more personalized content for each end-user. The e-learning industry uses more and more interactive content, videos, and finally, mobile. HTML5 is hot right now.
Can you tell a bit more about personalized content?
Teemu: This means people can select task-based learning packages when they need them, like in the movie series Matrix, and at the same time we will see complete learning journeys being built for different career situations. Automation is the key. We can see same kind of suggestions what you see now in web shops – “people who studied this also watched/studied these ones…”
We talked about personalized content, what about social learning – are companies adopting those? Does it already take place at corporates?
Teemu: Of course! I have used different collaborating tools for the past 15 years. Right now there is a lot of social learning going on with different blog discussions. Also, companies start enhancing their intranets with social media tools, thus enabling secure and confidential information sharing. Peer review, commenting and rating material, open discussion, voting – all the Facebook elements plus some more can be used.
“I’m inspired by people. Everyone has a talent. Wake up at 6 and do one hour workout. Old-fashioned when it comes to… fashion. I have hundreds of ties and dozens of cufflinks. Would definitely go to Hawaii again. Read on spare time. Believe in learning, always.