Human Capital Gets a Technology Infusion

Events, Human Capital Management, Insights

February 2019 — By Nicholas Mignone


We recently attended the Association for Talent Development (ATD) TechKnowledge conference in West Palm Beach, FL This event is a learning technology conference for talent development professionals. We left the conference with three key themes in mind:

1. The Future of Work Is Rapidly Evolving

  • The future of work is rapidly evolving. Nearly 35% of the US workforce is structured as freelancers.  This independent and remote work setup is facilitated by rapid enhancements in both communication technology and the software that powers workflows.  More change is coming.  Notably, 80% of companies surveyed indicated they are open to employees working remotely and roughly 43% of workers indicated they are remote some of the time –Source: Upwork and Freelancers Union. Expect more work shifts and a rethinking of tools to support this evolution.
  • First the pain. Jobs will transition.  Practically speaking, some jobs will be lost, and others gained but this will come as the result of progress and not artificial shocks.  For example, McKinsey predicts that by 2030 1/5 of the global workforce will be lost to automation, not things like trade disputes. In the past few years, industries have been forced to adapt leading to a decline in administrative, customer service, repairs and accounting roles.
  • Then the gains. Staying with automation.  The newest jobs are in the areas of software engineering, marketing, HR, recruiting, data analysis and UX designers.
  • The learning and training ecosystem needs to catch up. Today’s “education life cycle” is outdated with a curriculum stuck in the 20th Century. The areas that need development for future work are listed below in the table, contrasted with “old school” ways that are on the decline:

2. Virtual Becoming a Reality

  • Adoption of VR is here and now, as large players have arisen with notable investments in the areas of gaming, VR wearables and Augmented Reality applications including players like Unity, DAQRI, Magic Leap, Epic Games and STX Entertainment.

  • But what makes the premiere VR experience for maximum retention?
    • Key Components: Immersive, 360°video, experiential, 3D and naturally microlearning
  • Analytics are necessary to prove ROI and drive adoption
  • xAPI or the use of a similar language between multiple platforms to monitor microevents in a learner’s journey
    • Decision paths
    • Reactions to environmental changes
    • Precise movements and actions
  • The need for analytics:
    • 69% of large companies have a people analytics team-Source: DDI
    • 60% of those companies have a higher profit-Source: DDI

3. The Content Landscape

  • The content landscape is scattered with creators, curators, translators, localizers and digitizers
  • Translators & Localizers
    • Expect that in congruence with globalization and expansion of companies into new geographies, an increased need for translation and localization of content
  • Creators and Digitizers
    • Learners want content to be bite sized and accessible anywhere
    • There is an increased need for digital content and custom creation
    • Players in the space are able to convert antiquated PDFs, PPTs and workflows into condensed video and mobile content
  • Aggregators and Curators
    • Think of these players as the Sling TV or Netflix of learning content where enterprises or learners can choose and customize the content they receive based on their own training needs and individual learning paths. Innovative players are using AI to provide targeted content for a learner based on their learning needs at that moment.

Evolving and adaptable training curriculum will be necessary to support a changing workforce structure and entirely new lines of work. Expect innovations in mobile and personal learning content to cater to a learner’s journey and environment.