Strategies to Cope with The Perpetual Beta of Workplace Learning Design

In an era of unparalleled technological flux, corporate learning remains in perpetual beta, an ever-changing flow, struggling to keep pace with evolving business demands.

Sika is a world leader in construction chemicals, headquartered in Switzerland. At its core, the objective of the Corporate Digital Learning Team is to build an intricate online learning platform for over 33,000 employees in 103 countries. The SikaLearn platform is currently a digital learning home for nearly 300 internal content creators. To maintain the status of an online knowledge hub, the team must constantly innovate and optimize the platform. The strategies below have proven successful in striking a balance between the reliability of the well-known and the risks of the digital learning transformation.

LMS – We found the right partner.

High-quality, easily accessible, and digestible learning content remains an ideal unless a user-centric Learning Management System (LMS) is adopted. Our team went through three SikaLearn platforms within five years before we found the right vendor: a French start-up company. Today, we interact with the product development teams directly on the platform, saving us hours of feedback loops. Our partner is future-oriented with the management and technical teams being highly motivated to integrate new features such as AI touch points and interface integrations – improvements which enable us to create sustainable learning content.

The “Why?” – We reinvented our purpose.

Our Corporate Digital Learning Team sought to redefine our business purpose in Sika’s digital learning landscape. Struggling to formulate our mission prompted us to reassess our strategic role. We emerged with a revitalized mission statement, positioning ourselves as a global learning consultancy within Sika. This rebranding, supported by our robust network, was met with enthusiasm from the strong community of Sika content creators and owners.

PM – Every online training is a project.

After redefining our team’s identity, we clarified our roles and responsibilities to reduce the overwhelming nature of our previous high-volume workflow. By implementing a structured project management approach, we assigned specific roles within the numerous content creation micro-teams and supported them with robust planning and tracking tools. This systematic change led to the introduction of a data visualization tool for project tracking, which significantly improved our content creation KPIs.

Delegation – Utilising the collaborative advantage.

We adopt the communal approach of “it takes a village to raise a child” to elevate our online trainings, ensuring each project benefits from our collective expertise. Our project management structure is supported by a well-curated platform and a network of freelancers well-versed in our design ethos, development methodology, and corporate values, enhancing the synergy between them and our Sika content drivers. To foster a positive and inclusive work environment, we utilize the PERMA model from Positive Psychology, ensuring all stakeholders feel valued and engaged.

AI – A network of tools optimises performance.

Integrating AI into our training development workflows has enhanced efficiency, quality, and creativity, allowing us to handle everything from design to media production in-house. This synergy of AI with our creative processes has given us a competitive advantage, offering data-driven support that has saved countless hours of manual labour. As a result, we’ve redirected our focus towards refining our strategic, didactic approaches and strengthening our collaborative networks.

Good enough can be better than perfect.

During our team’s transformation, we confronted time management challenges and learned that prioritizing speed and efficiency outweigh the elusive goal of perfection. Embracing “good enough” alleviated stress and promoted adaptability, leading to a more sustainable approach to our objectives. While we continue to showcase our creativity and skill in flagship programs, we also recognize the practicality of releasing courses when they meet our robust standards, even if imperfect.

Change Management – Accepting fluidity. 

We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, also known as VUCA world. This requires us to deploy adaptable strategies and resilience, embracing early adoption to stay ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of learning transformation. We align with Pasmore’s Four Phases of Change Management to ensure organizational readiness, vision clarity, skill development, and iterative learning, focusing on fostering a sense of ownership among all stakeholders. Through continuous communication and leading by example, our team promotes agility and innovation throughout the organization. 

Sika’s Digital Learning team champions freedom and creativity, offering a suite of choices for our content creators on SikaLearn and providing support throughout their content development journey. Our creators enjoy the autonomy to select their tools, vendors, and learning approaches and manage their teams. This collaborative environment not only aligns with our mission to develop impactful digital training but also equips our workforce with essential skills for the future.

Written for OEB Global 2023 by Ina Dankova.

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