What is a digital learning ecosystem?
Research shows that employees value continuous learning more than any other form of reward or recognition. One reason is that knowledge, information, and technology are in a constant state of flux, requiring the current workforce to be constantly on their toes to update their skills. Therefore, when organizations invest in L&D initiatives, it provides them a sense of security that they have a platform to constantly enhance their skills with evolving trends.
Then again, as businesses evolve and grow, they are faced with a skills crisis. A report by IBM’s Institute for Business Value shows that about 60% of executives worldwide confirm that they are struggling to keep their employees updated and relevant to the new market realities. And hiring new employees in the face of the evolving information landscape is not an ideal option. So how to bridge the skill gap? The way forward is to build a digital learning ecosystem. You ask what is a digital ecosystem?
Gartner Research defines a digital ecosystem or a corporate learning ecosystem as “An interdependent group of enterprises, people and/or things that share standardized digital platforms for a mutually beneficial purpose, such as commercial gain, innovation or common interest. Digital ecosystems enable you to interact with customers, partners, adjacent industries ‒ and even your competition.” To define learning ecosystem, it integrates people, departments, and even organizations, enabling enterprises to create and share new experiences.
A digital learning ecosystem integrates all learning content within an enterprise with a variety of other systems, for example, integrating learning content with employee LMS, the CRM system, the consumer-centric website, the Intranet, and other company portals. The idea behind a learning ecosystem design is to dissolve silos between people, processes, and departments and provide one cohesive version of the organization. A digital learning ecosystem provides a connected workplace where people can connect, interact, learn, and share experiences. The organization benefits in terms of increased productivity and innovation, which are necessary to achieve a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Impact of the Digital Ecosystem on Educational Institutions
How does a digital learning ecosystem empower a business organization
Builds employee skill sets: Employees today seek experiences that are authentic, personal, and engaging. In response, enterprises need to fulfill these expectations to increase productivity and attract and retain talent. A digital learning ecosystem is a means to provide personalized experiences across the employee lifecycle.
Such integration opens up avenues for employees to upgrade their knowledge and skills from wherever they are located. The learning content across the enterprise can be delivered in a range of learning formats including web-based learning, eLearning, classroom learning, blended learning, mobile learning, and microlearning.
With a digital learning ecosystem, learning for employees is not limited to the corporate LMS; rather it puts learning directly into their path, allowing them to choose the skills and knowledge they wish to upgrade, in the format and device of their choice. A digital learning ecosystem ensures that all relevant, coherent, and updated content is woven together and that learners can pick up the threads they want to follow to weave their learning tapestry.
Within a connected environment, they can gain a 360-degree perspective of the skills, knowledge, and expertise they need and select their personalized learning paths. L&D professionals can also use collated data to predict and design the right learning strategies for their workforce. This shift in focus fosters active engagement and long-term retention, ensuring more productivity, faster time to market, and higher client satisfaction. And not to forget, more satisfied employees and a lower attrition rate.
Employees have complete access to learning materials and tools: Digital learning ecosystems are evolved workplaces that give employees access to all data, tools, or communication devices they need to achieve their business goals. These systems ensure much faster access to data and communications, allowing for friction-free workplaces. Such streamlined access to data empowers both the workforce and the enterprise to make more rapid and accurate decisions.
Share best practices: With a digital learning ecosystem, enterprises have an infrastructure in place to capture, collate, and share their workplace best practices with all their employees. All organizations have their standardized practices that they expect all their employees to follow. This is all the more important in the case of businesses that have a brand image to maintain, implying that all their products must act, look and perform in a defined way and at all times meet customer expectations for quality and experience.
A digital learning ecosystem ensures that all workers have all the information they need to make informed decisions, and access to closed workflows so that all tasks are authorized, completed, and released according to the defined procedures. It provides a platform to connect and share relevant information from all databases within the enterprise and then configure it in a way to enable employees to make informed decisions in compliance with regulations, quality control, and within production targets.
Also Read: Best Online Learning Platforms for Employees
A digital learning ecosystem goes beyond the learning management systems, courses, and content to help enterprises achieve their growth ambitions. At a time when the shelf life of skills and knowledge is about 2 years, there is a constant need to upskill employees to take on the challenges of growth and expansion and remain competitive in the market. On the other hand, research shows that the chance to constantly learn and evolve is one of the most important factors motivating employees.
With avenues for digital learning in the workplace, you can provide your employees a platform to access all types of L&D content, data and applications to upskill, learn and apply their knowledge on the job. Besides, it also enables greater connection between employees, allowing them to connect, interact and work together.
To build and benefit from a digital learning ecosystem, as an enterprise, it is important to understand the needs of your employees and then design the content with the larger picture in mind. You also need to build empathy with the learners. This is possible by designing content with the end user in mind and applying the practices of transparency, personalization, and responsiveness. Once the content is published, there is a need to constantly update at speed and scale while also personalizing for each employee. Also, use data-driven insights to predict critical skills of your business and create new content for employee learning and development. And finally, strive for constant improvement and monitor, measure, and optimize your digital learning ecosystem.