What does a forward-thinking learning culture mean and why can it play such a big role? Here are 3 important steps to a good learning culture for better digital mindset.
According to the latest Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum, the core competencies required for the job will change for almost 50% of all employees worldwide by 2025. This figure impressively shows how great the importance of upskilling already is today and how much it will grow in the coming years.
Moreover, we are in the midst of an exponential development in the digital transformation and thus in the middle of the phase of accelerating technological development. This means that it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict which technologies and trends will be current by 2025 or by 2030. This also makes it increasingly difficult to predict which hard skills (i.e., which concrete skills) will be among the core competencies of one’s job in the future. Thus, for a future-oriented learning strategy in companies, the focus of development must be on the digital mindset. This forms the foundation for learning the right hard skills for the situation.
But how can we create a learning culture in our own organization that is suitable for this major challenge?
The following three steps provide a framework for developing a future-oriented learning culture that develops employees in the long term, prepares them for the challenges of tomorrow’s jobs, and thus makes the organization sustainable and competitive in the long term.
3 steps for a future-oriented learning culture
Step 1: Focus on digital mindset – marathon not sprint
The first step in creating a future-oriented learning culture is to set a clear focus on digital mindset. This is because the difficulty of predicting future hard skills requires a focus on digital mindset, which serves as the foundation for the hard skills to be learned in a given situation. This involves development in the following six mindset dimensions that are critical to success:
- Openness & Agility
- Customer centricity
- Ability to take criticism
- Open approach to failure
- Proactivity and entrepreneurial action orientation
However, the development of a digital mindset requires a different learning approach than the pure transfer of hard skills. Because mindset does not develop overnight through a workshop that covers these topics. The measurable development of Mindset takes at least 9 months. Over this period, it is important to continuously absorb learning impulses, to reflect on them and thus to keep trying out new impulses in one’s own everyday life. Afterwards, it is important to reflect on what went well and what did not go so well. In order for development to take place continuously over such a long period of time, so-called micro-learning should be used, i.e. impulses in short units (from approx. 5 to approx. 20 minutes) with different media forms (such as videos, texts, podcasts). This way, development is possible independent of location and time and can be ideally integrated into everyday life.
Development is thus not a sprint, but is rather a marathon. This long-term and enduring approach should be clearly communicated to the organization.
Step 2: Self-learning competence
In order to successfully develop one’s own digital mindset, self-learning competence is necessary. This is because a learning approach that is designed for continuous microlearning sets the framework for the learning content and the learning formats. However, the responsibility for developing the learning content is transferred from the organization to the individual learners. Thus, the organization should create an optimal learning environment (content, technical infrastructure with appropriate access, etc.), in which the self-learning competence of the learners can be actively developed. The main focus here is on self-organization, self-direction and self-determination.
Self-organization describes the ability to organize everyday life in such a way that learning time can be integrated seamlessly and the appropriate learning content is accessible at the appropriate time.
Self-control describes the ability to adjust one’s own learning time and learning effort according to workload and stress level.
Self-determination describes the ability to set one’s own learning priorities that fit into one’s overall learning journey.
Step 3: Setting the appropriate organizational framework
In order for self-learning competence to be developed for the focus area of digital mindset, it is necessary for the organization to provide the appropriate framework conditions. This starts with a suitable technological infrastructure, continues with the provision of suitable learning content (prepared for microlearning in terms of content and media), and ends with the image of the learning project and the example set by managers. However, the provision of suitable learning content in a suitable technological infrastructure is only the minimum requirement that forms the foundation.
The acceptance of learning and the commitment to learning are significantly influenced by the image of learning and the example set by managers. If learning has a negative connotation in the organization and is interpreted as a necessary evil or – even worse – as a sign of weakness, learning acceptance and engagement will definitely remain low. If, on the other hand, learning has a positive connotation and leaders actively model continuing education and development, it will have a positive impact on overall learning engagement in the organization.
The three steps described serve as a framework for creating a learning culture that is elementary for the further development of employees and thus also for the sustainability of the organization. Ignoring the change in the core competencies mentioned above by 2025 would not only mean severe cuts for employees, but also for the entire value creation of organizations.