One of the biggest myths that we buy into in today’s world of rapid technological change is that somehow, somewhere, and at some time in the future, technology will miraculously solve all, or at the very least, most of our problems. In reality, technology has proven itself to be a double-edged sword.
Yes, Artificial Intelligence is diagnosing our illnesses earlier than ever, but we are also becoming more sickly.
Yes, social media platforms connect us to more people than ever before, but we are also feeling more isolated.
Yes, robotics and automation have taken out the drudgery out of time-wasting activities, but they have also made us feel less valued and worthy.
To be clear, the issue is not in technology itself, but rather, its purpose, its end goal.
That brings me to the end goal of one of the learning technologies described in the previous article (Part 2).
In the iPad app example, the end goal is to ensure that the pipeline field operators have information, knowledge, and training at their fingertips. They no longer feel lost or unsure about processes, procedures, & technical minutiae.
This builds confidence and comfort. This leads to unleashing intellectual and mental energy to focus on solving higher order, challenging issues that can be solved only through collaboration, communication, and innovation with other operators and supervisors.
So, the real value of learning technology is to amplify Human-To-Human collaboration and innovation. THAT is the real power of learning.
What has changed?
In the past, it would have been difficult to persuade organizations to invest in learning apps and platforms. However, that is not the case now. What has changed now? And why?
I asked this question to my colleague, Marybeth Burgess, Sify’s Director for Energy sector and someone who has seen the world of energy change right before her eyes. This is what she has to say.
“The new age training technologies, apps, and platforms have become extremely relevant to the changes we have witnessed in this past year with working from home and the investment in remaining productive remotely even when people are unable to have access to physical locations and equipment,”
She adds, “As the industry has evolved over the past five years, many of the leading companies have taken an invested approach to what technology is going to be the most impactful for their productivity and learning needs,”
“While the evolution has been slower than other industries, the overall ROI for projects such as VR and AR field training and AI pipeline monitoring have yielded positive outcomes that are now being seen by small and midsize organizations as value added projects. And as mentioned above, with the movement towards more remote work, we are seeing a definite uptick in the utilization of available technologies,”
Marybeth further emphasizes, “Even with the world coming back to “normal”, it is entirely conceivable that having tasted the benefits of new age training technologies – benefits such as, reduced hardware & physical training infrastructure investments, reduced travel, accelerated training, speedy release of new modules, increased mobility & equitable access, along with ever-reducing costs of VR, AR hardware, we will continue to witness an accelerated pace of new training technology adoption,”
Finally, Marybeth brings today’s reality to life, “On top of these benefits, the entry of digital natives into the workforce will force organizations – large, medium, and small – to adopt or risk losing attractiveness to a highly mobile and discerning workforce.”
Affordability of New Technologies
At this point, I would like to dispel the notion that these apps and platforms can only be afforded by big, well-funded corporations. What about need to help hundreds and thousands of everyday people in their day-to-day struggles with creating a better life through the power of learning?
We in Sify have been thinking about affordability of these technologies in the area of workforce skill development by leveraging, collaborating, and partnering with multiple entities such as Workforce Development Boards, community colleges, America Job Centers, non-profits, local businesses, corporations, etc. to make these training technologies affordable with reduced risk and rapid development cycles.
The first approach to any partnership is to find out what current training, content and technologies are being utilized. Once that is done, we follow the “Leverage-Collaborate-Partner Model” for in-depth analysis and recommendations.
● Leverage – Our philosophy is that as far as possible and practical, we like to reuse technology platforms, algorithms, designs, content, etc. that already exist and can be reused “as is” or by some form of customizations and re-development.
This helps to bring down the costs, accelerate project timelines, reduce risks, and leverage best practices. We also want to leverage technologies such as cloud computing to develop subscription-based pricing models that lower the costs & risks for everyone.
● Collaborate – No workforce development project can be successful when done in a “vacuum”. Our objective is to work with multiple entities such as the local Workforce Development Board, the community college system, AJCs (America Job Centers), non-profit organizations, and even ancillary services like housing, health, etc. to design Training projects that are holistic and deal with broader, deeper, societal challenges.
● Partner – Here, our point of view is to spread the costs and risks across the collaborators so that no single entity bears the complete burden. For example, we are incredibly open to developing joint grant proposals with multiple partners. Or, to even consider joint revenue share business models.
Intelligent SMART Technologies
In addition to VR, AR, and apps, technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and cloud-based SMART platforms are about to revolutionize the world of skill development.
Here are some quick examples:
SkyHive – Identifies skill and competency gaps based on labor market data and aligns training programs for each person.
Pecan.AI – Uses AI-based Predictive Analytics to flag students & workers that are likely to drop-off midway from a training program and suggests relevant engagement strategies.
SumTotal – An LMS that uses AI for performance management and community building among the workforce.
Skillsoft Percipio – Uses AI to deliver curated content that is personalized to each learner.
Velocity Network Foundation – A non-profit cooperative that has developed “The Internet of Careers” platform that uses open source Blockchain technologies to own, manage, and share career credentials.
Gartner TalentNeuron – Uses Deep Neural Networks to deliver real-time, labor market information regarding location-based job openings, resume postings, salaries, skill gaps, etc.
Dawn of Human Augmented Learning
I believe that the dawn of the new world of Human Augmented Learning is here. Now is the time to get started.
The solutions for skills development and Human Augmented Learning that I have described are just some of the examples of what is possible. Ultimately, every solution must be aligned to the ground realities of target population requirements, needs, budgets, timelines, and priorities.
That is where Sify’s consulting expertise and experience comes to the rescue.
Reach out. Today. Explore. Renew.