Government Elearning! Magazine

WINTER 2015

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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Tips Tips 44 Winter 2015 Government Elearning! BY JIM ZIMMERMANN Today's I.T. department is faced with a wide array of challenges, including a severe shortage of skilled workers and an environ- ment in which everything is changing, from platforms to de- velopment environments to end- user expectations. One way I.T. departments can help address many of these issues is through training. But not just piecemeal training; I.T. needs to develop a continuous learning envi- ronment for its staf to ensure knowledge transfer to the job. A continuous learning environment in I.T. involves providing a range of learning opportunities supported by diferent learning modalities across formal, informal, and social learning — and they can't all be managed or con- trolled by a central training function. Instead of managing and tracking training events, training professionals that wish to create a vibrant continuous learning environment in I.T. need to focus on four things: 1 Enabling a continuous learning environment is a critical component of a suc- cessful continuous learning environment. Enabling should come from the top down with senior management visibly supporting continuous learn- ing and staf managers actively encouraging team members to always be learning. Getting staf to participate in social learning is another area where enablement is key. Just setting up a social platform does not guarantee people will use it. Enabling social learning could involve getting a key group of staf members signed up before launch and have them get the conversations going. People are also more likely to participate in social learning if they know that their managers are also actively following the social discussions and participating. 2 Optimization is another important factor to help make skills stick. Tere are many ways you can optimize your current and future learn- ing resources to support con- tinuous learning. Optimizing involves fnding ways to lever- age and repurpose learning resources to support various types of learning at diferent moments of need. For instance, short individual performance- support videos can be grouped together into courses or orga- nized into learning paths. Your top I.T. talent could be encour- aged to share their knowledge with others through social channels, webinars, lunch-and- learn sessions, or mentoring. 3 Organizing your learning resources is also important to a successful continuous learning environment. If you just dump a few thousand learning assets into an LMS and announce it to your learn- ers, don't expect great results. You will need to organize your learning assets to align with specifc I.T. initiatives, job roles, competencies, certifca- tions, etc. Te concept of learn- ing paths can also be a very powerful way of organizing content to encourage continu- ous learning. For instance, you could work with I.T. subject- matter experts to come up with a recommended path to learn a new technology or prepare for a certifcation exam and then share the learning path with employees who need to learn the skills. Te learning paths should contain an assortment of learning modalities to sup- port continuous learning. 4 Mobilizing is where you make sure that learning is available when, where, and how the I.T. staf needs it. Tis may involve making sure your learning assets are available on a wide range of platforms from desktops and laptops to tablets to smartphones. It is also where you try to remove as many steps and potential roadblocks to accessing the learning resources as possible. Ideally, you want to make sure the learning assets are available at "the point of need." So if you already have an I.T. department portal where staf goes to fnd internal resources, make sure your training is a single click away from the portal. So get out there and start en- abling, optimizing, organizing, and mobilizing to support con- tinuous learning and make it stick in your I.T. organization. —Te author is director of Research Products for Skillsof. 4 Ways to Make I.T. Skills Stick I.T. Skills

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