On 27 August 2014, business decision makers across learning and development (L&D) functions gathered in Sydney for Skillsoft’s annual conference, Perspectives Australia & New Zealand.
This year’s conference drew close to 110 delegates, with the theme ‘Innovate, Influence, Impact’ resonating strongly through the presentations and discussions where global experts provided the latest thought leadership and insights on what is driving, influencing and motivating L&D leaders today.
In the welcome speech, Jerry Nine, Chief Operating Officer, Skillsoft and Glenn Nott, Vice President and General Manager, Skillsoft Asia Pacific, highlighted the key findings of Skillsoft’s latest research, ‘Leverage the Power of Big Data and the Cloud,’ a study of cloud solutions and big data uptake from 300 large to medium-sized organizations across 13 countries in the Asia Pacific region.
The research shows that while Asia Pacific respondents understand the value of cloud solutions and big data in driving business results, there is a significant gap in learning and training to support investment in these solutions.
In terms of competency levels and level of comfort in utilising cloud solutions and big data, 23% of decision makers and 27% of learners reported having a limited understanding of cloud solutions and 39% of decision makers reported a lack of confidence with their organizations’ level of readiness to leverage big data.
Deloitte research shows professionals check their mobile devices more than 150 times per day—whether it be to check voicemails, emails, social media or calendars. With employees overwhelmed by copious amounts of data, Skillsoft’s Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development, John Ambrose, emphasised during his presentation, the importance of utilising Big Data to assist with the transformation from an ‘overwhelmed employee’ to an ‘empowered employee.’ He said content aggregation and learner recommendations are key to promoting adaptive learning experiences in L&D programs—only possible through an organization’s willingness to fully embrace big data.
So how does this tie into organizational learning?
Kieran King highlighted that despite having evaluation models, such as Donald Kirkpatrick’s ‘Four-Level Training Evaluation Model,’ in place for more than 50 years, and Dr Jack Philips’ adding ‘return on investment’ (ROI) as a fifth layer in the 1980s, L&D professionals still struggle with the “how” to demonstrate business impact. She made the point that the global financial crisis has resulted in increased cost pressures on budgets, relentless focus on organizational efficiencies and further pressure to demonstrate program value.
With this in mind, the focus on ROI is not going to subside and L&D leaders must understand business value is built not born. The best way to do this is to harness cloud solutions and big data by integrating it into learning programs.
In his insightful keynote speech, Dan Pontefract, author of ‘Flat Army’ and Chief Envisioner at TELUS in Canada, highlighted how his learning model, the Collaborative Leader Action Model complements the modern business landscape. He emphasised that a change in the ‘training mindset’ of decision makers and learners is crucial.
That is, a shift from learning being understood as an ‘event,’ to reflect a more open, collaborative and connected model which can fuel ‘invisible learning,’ very important for today’s mobile, flexible workplaces. His view is that to create a truly collaborative and engaged learning culture, organizations must lead differently and incorporate a careful balance of three channels of learning to drive strong business outcomes: formal, informal and social learning. Only then will L&D leaders see a lift in leadership, engagement and teamwork.
It was great to see delegates take advantage of the Experience Hub, a space dedicated to enabling individuals to discover more about the key solutions from Skillsoft and help them find out how these solutions can be integrated into organizational learning and development programs.
On behalf of my fellow colleagues, I would like to thank all speakers and delegates who attended Perspectives AUS & NZ this year. I hope you walked away with the motivation and knowledge of how you can ‘Innovate, Influence, Impact’ your organization over the coming months.
We look forward to sharing more dynamic insights, collaborative discussions and sharing further elearning industry successes at next year’s event.
Rosie Cairnes is Regional Director, Australia & New Zealand at Skillsoft.