Nikolas Kairinos, CEO, Soffos.ai
Now that signs are starting to point towards a gradual return to the office, it is time to consider the role that corporate EdTech will play in the future of the workplace. Will the tech solutions that organizations have leant on to fill the pandemic-shaped hole in their training have a place in the new business landscape?
It would be no exaggeration to say that the past twelve months have completely turned the tables on corporate learning and development (L&D). There were many initial hurdles to overcome as businesses moved to digital, however this wholesale shift to remote working has removed one of the traditional barriers to effective L&D – namely, a reluctance to embrace online training incentives. Now that people are routinely connecting with friends and families virtually, the process of meeting, learning, and collaborating online has become a much simpler task.
Has the workplace changed forever?
I am confident that learning leaders and HR departments worldwide will continue to rely heavily upon innovative EdTech solutions as companies slowly transition towards business as usual. However, this won’t look the same as it once did.
While it is true that organizations will soon be inviting their employees back into the office, I believe that most will now adopt a “hybrid” model of working due to the reduced costs and increased productivity that come along with remote working practices..
There is no doubt that employees benefit from learning in-house, and EdTech solutions will never detract from the immense value that skilled learning leaders bring to the table. If anything, state-of-the-art tech will be on hand to support these traditional peer-to-peer (P2P) initiatives, to ensure that learning is available to all members of staff around the clock, and that no learner is left behind.
For companies that invest in next-gen EdTech solutions, such as those that utilise artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the possibilities to reinvent traditional L&D strategies are immense. New and emerging technologies have much to offer: indeed, the problem with traditional training is that companies are often forced to take a blanket approach to L&D due to budget and resource constraints – a hindrance that sophisticated EdTech can easily solve.
Modern software has an inherent ability to gather granular insights and conduct real-time performance analysis. As such, it can identify individual areas for improvement, as well as strengths that an employee might want to build on as they progress in their role. AI-powered tech in particular can deliver personalized learning, and fill in the gaps that might otherwise go unnoticed when training incentives are delivered to the masses.
AR and VR will usher in the future of the workplace
Software bolstered with AI will just be the beginning for organizations hoping to bring their L&D strategies into the future. Although these technologies have not yet reached full maturity, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) technologies that use computer-generated stimuli to immerse individuals in the illusion of being part of a tangible experience, landscape, or other imaginary situation, will become a vital part of corporate learning incentives.
Particularly in the WFH environment, where employees don’t have access to a curated office space to provide motivation and a collaborative working environment, this will be a boon to organizations looking to boost their L&D programmes. Encouragingly, statistics suggest that younger members of the workforce in particular are keen to embrace these technologies in the workplace – this should be reason enough for global businesses to start investing in the relevant frameworks.
These solutions have the power to improve the working day for both end-users and the company at large, and there is no limit to the creative ways in which business leaders can create meaningful learning experiences through AR and VR. From the ability to depict a “virtual workplace” that is almost indistinguishable from a physical office setting, to customized training avatars that relate to specific employees, these technologies are constantly advancing. With their assistance, employers will be able to streamline the professional development journey and facilitate more enriched and engaging training.
Ultimately, EdTech applications that really push the needle forward in the corporate learning space are set to become a permanent fixture in the “new normal” of hybrid working. It has become increasingly clear in recent months that pioneering technical solutions don’t just serve as a stopgap solution while organizations weather the storm of the pandemic; these applications will prove to be a much-needed way of resolving common L&D issues in life without COVID-19, and I look forward to seeing how organizations harness them to their advantage.
Nikolas Kairinos is the chief executive officer and founder of Soffos, the world’s first AI-powered KnowledgeBot. The platform streamlines corporate learning and development (L&D) to deliver seamless professional training for employees. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.