Talent Management Blog

We often hear senior learning executives say: “If millennials continue to be a large percentage of our workforce, how must our learning department change?” What they are really asking is how can their learning department incorporate the same features that make engaging in social sites so much fun, like commenting, rating, tagging, using rich media, building and editing your profile, reading the activity streams of your friends and being a part of relevant online communities that you care about.

When we think about the changes we have experienced in our personal lives, the statistics are daunting:

  • By the year 2020, millennials will be at least 50 percent of the workplace and bringing their digital expectations with them.
  • At the end of 2011, the number of smartphones sold exceeded the number of PCs sold (Business Insider).
  • By 2016, there will be 375 million tablets purchased globally — a 46 percent compound annual growth rate (Forrester).
  • As of today, 29 percent of all U.S. households have either a tablet or an e-reader (Morgan Stanley Research).
  • 40 percent of learning and development executives plan to incorporate tablets into their learning and development offerings by 2015 (Future Workplace as profiled in ASTD Magazine).

A new trend seen across large, small and mid-sized firms is facilitating this shift in the corporate world – “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD. According to a global survey by Accenture of more than 5,000 millennials (born between 1977 and 2000), one out of two are requesting to bring their own device to the workplace. They cite the following reasons:

  • Blurring of lines between work and personal lives.
  • The ability to work on an extended schedule , when and where they want.
  • The desire to use their own tablet device to increase personal productivity.

These trends translate to a new agenda for corporate learning – one that will increasingly focus on the following principles:

SOCIAL: Insist on creating ways for learning to be part of a social experience.

MOBILE: Integrate mobile devices into formal and informal learning.

COLLABORATIVE: Create opportunities for learning to happen naturally in groups.

PEER-GENERATED: Use social tools to enable learners to easily share their own content, videos and more.

OPEN: Leverage open source content found on Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, and Open Culture offering free online courses from leading universities.

But the question for many learning leaders is how to do this. Future Workplace has created an eight-step model on “Implementing Social Learning,” shown here in Prezi.

What changes are you making in learning in your organization to prepare NOW for the 2020 workplace?

About The Author

Jeanne Meister and Steve Dahlberg

Jeanne C. Meister is co-author of The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today (Harper Business, 2010) and co-host of the Social Learning Boot Camp. Jeanne is an internationally recognized workplace-learning consultant dedicated to delivering competitive advantage, innovation and improved business results for organizations. She was most recently vice president of Accenture Learning. Steven Dahlberg is partner and vice president of innovation for Future Workplace and co-host of the Social Learning Boot Camp. He collaborates across sectors to assist organizations in developing and applying creativity, innovation and learning. He co-hosts the Creativity in Play radio show, authored the foreword to Education is Everybody’s Business, and has written for Training magazine. Steven serves on the board of the National Creativity Network and has taught "Creativity + Social Change" at the University of Connecticut.

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