Say, freelancers or content experts come in and do accounting for a fiscal year (Accountemps), LegalZoom attorneys manage legal, or a cadre of college professors and business executives build the strategic plan?
What does all of this transformation mean for L&D? How will we train a gig workforce? Will we even need to train a gig workforce? Or, will the freelancers be responsible for their own soft skills and technical training, and the corporation will offer compliance and product training? Will corporations have a pay-as-you-go model for a freelance workforce and serve it up on a gig basis? And, how will L&D freelancers build and deploy these knowledge/skill services? Will L&D freelancers go from corporation to corporation working on learning gigs and building nano-learning assets?
• Apple be responsible for design and development of corporate learning?
• Ted Talks deliver ILT?
• YouTube deliver e-learning on a new Amazon-type shopping platform Google develops?
• IBM’s Watson magically merge learning with all other corporate data analytics?
How will we measure the impact of these nano-learning interventions? Will we measure the impact of freelancers working on corporate gigs and full-time employees?
Does learning evaluation evolve to become a Shark Tank panel? You’d have 5 minutes to demonstrate why and how your learning solution was effective and how it “made money” or “furthered the mission.” Enter the Shark Tank and either the sharks let you swim away with another learning gig or they eat you alive?
The bottom line is that today’s corporate long-term strategic planning is nearly impossible with the speed of technological change and speed of market volatility. Short-term plans can hit the fan when triggered by a single event, such as a cybersecurity threat or geopolitical issue. No matter what L&D looks like, we will have to support wobbly strategic plans possibly driven by a semi-gig workforce. We have no idea what the future holds for L&D because we don’t know what the future holds for business.
What I do know is that old L&D evaluation models are not sustainable. We will not survey learners based on the Kirkpatrick model. Why do we need learner satisfaction surveys? We will have star ratings on learning assets. Why do we need big assessments? We will have micro-certifications. Will we measure job impact by big data Watson’s sibling spits out? We will have our 5 minutes in front of the Sharks to show impact and ROI. So, we better figure out how to show how learning “made money” or “furthered the mission” using qualitative stories backed by quantitative metrics.
I propose we start now in preparation for our future. Try to create a 5-minute L&D valuation in your organization and see if it works. Establish the 3-5 core business metrics (e.g., revenue, turnover, profit margin, customer satisfaction, etc.) you want to impact, and then build your show-and-tell story for the Sharks about why and how your L&D product/services are worth their investment or reinvestment. Test your valuation presentation with a group of stakeholders until you are ready to enter your Shark Tank.
If you can nail a 5-minute L&D valuation, you will soon be swimming alongside the sharks.