There are three principles of the fourth industrial revolution that we have gotten used to for a long time. We use these principles to order our favourite cereal online or put together a photo book. The principles are variety, individuality and the transformation of consumers into prosumers, i.e. consumers who are participating in the creation of things.
These three principles have been known to Talent Management for a long times. Talent Management has long insisted that education should not be a one-size fits all device for all and everyone. Neither is it a new idea to turn employees into facilitators so that they can transfer their knowledge. But now all of these principles are moving into the centre of the company strategy and are going to become mandatory for every part of the business including Talent Management.
Over the recent years learning methods have become more varied and easily accessible than ever before. Seminars and lectures from Harvard and Stanford have become available to people around the globe thanks to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Augmented Reality creates situations that make you believe you are actually in the room that only your eyes can see. Serious Gaming allows you to create situations from your work life. Ubiquitous and mobile learning help you to use your smart phone as a learning device. People can use the time they are waiting for the train for learning. Learning has become independent from the place you are in and is no longer limited to a specific group. In other words: learning has become so flexible that it can take place at any time and at any place and is available to everyone.
A larger variety, however, means greater difficulty to pick the things that are best for you. In this situation talent managers have to become education counselors. They have to advise their customers on what is best for their development. Talent Managers know that human beings are learning differently and that each and everyone belongs to one particular learning type.
Talent Managers have to help their customers to identify their own learning type in order to find out if they are better in learning with the help of seminars, books, podcasts, videos or serious games. They have to help their customers understanding that there are different learning types and to find out whether they learn best from books, in seminars or from computers, in groups or alone. To find the right, the natural learning style talent managers should also ask how employees are learning when they are at home.
The talent manager also has to find out the right format for each topic. Using a computer to teach computing skills might be fine but maybe not the right format to learn languages or negotiation skills. When do you use a video, when a podcast, when a book? When and how do you combine different formats? At the moment there is still too little research on this topic but talent managers need to be up to date here, too.
Talent Managers do not only have to be consultants, they have to be networkers, too. Employees are prosumers. They are learners as well as teachers. The first contact for any problem is usually the colleague sitting next to you. Wikis and other platforms help to spread knowledge even further. Learning Management Systems (LMS) give employees the opportunity to upload their own videos and presentations as well as those of colleagues and customers. The most advanced LMS allow us to discuss problems, create FAQs and links to external sources. They allow employees to create learning groups and connect to facilitators. The latter can send information to seminar participants before and after the workshop as well as answer questions at any time.
In the future the division between teacher and student is going to disappear more and more. Lifelong learning means that there is no professional anymore. You only got the advantage of having spent a few more years on the topic.
Talent Managers have to create spaces where learning is possible and where learners can have an exchange with others. Talent Managers have to show learners how they themselves become teachers and thereby become the midwives of a learning organization.
Never before did talent managers have such a variety of methods available. Finding the right, the most suitable way of learning has never been so easy. The main task for talent managers is going to be to become familiar with all these ways of learning and provide the best offer to their customers.