Leadership Development and Learning

HRD Briefing 2021: The Future of Corporate Learning

  • January 15, 2021
Professor David Bach | Strategy and Political Economy, Dean of Innovation and Programs | IMD Business School
1 EMBEDEDNESS

Embeddedness will be a defining feature of corporate learning in the future. Research has shown that embedding learning in participant’s professional practice is critical for both impact and return on investment.

2 TECHNOLOGY

Technology will play a critical role in enabling embedded learning. With the adoption of technology:

  • Learning can be organised in smaller, more digestible units
  • Learning can be staggered over time to foster absorption and real-time application
  • Group size can vary along the learning journey as home teams join exercises and activities
  • Learning can be personalised and tailormade for individual learning journeys
  • Professional practice is no longer distant and instead provides the omnipresent context for learning
3 THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated how much we can achieve with technology when faced with no other option. As corporate clients and individual learners have settled into new work routines, learning has been swept up in a digital-first moment, with faculty embracing digital tools. Prior to the crisis, few top business schools had embraced online learning and many corporate clients were sceptical of the value and effectiveness of purely online journeys. What both sides have now discovered is that technology, can not only deliver the same impact as traditional face-to-face design, but that it relaxes several prior constraints highlighted in section two.

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CONCLUSIONS

Gone are the days when executives would go away to attend a residential programme and bring back a set of takeaways. Although the campuses of top business schools will remain critical assets for corporate learning, ready to welcome groups when appropriate, ‘getting away from work to learn’ will no longer be the default. Instead, world-class, faculty-led learning in engaging, interactive group settings will be just one click away.

This article is part of our 2021 HR Directors’ Briefing Paper.

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