The way learning happens in financial services firms is changing rapidly. The new learning tools we looked at last week offer a glimpse of the future: employees will access world-class training in any field on a platform of their choosing at any time. Leaders will be able to put together scalable, customized courses teaching specialized skills.

The future of learning is coming. Here are five ways to prepare.

1 Invest in a flexible platform

We have access to more sources of information right now than at any other point in history. Both the number of information sources and the amount of information available to the average person are likely to increase in the future. Therefore, financial services firms should not expect to find a one-size-fits all solution to their training needs. A flexible learning platform which can integrate internal and external learning resources into one place will be useful.

One modern example of this is Pathgather, an enterprise learning platform. It builds a customized information ecosystem so businesses can create just the right learning environment for employees. Its current clients include Visa and Intuit.

2 Recognize capabilities, not credentials

Organizational learning is all-or-nothing right now: either you have the required certification or you do not. But the speed with which skills become obsolete is rising. This will require a shift in thinking in the HR departments of financial institutions, as a university degree from last year may reveal very little about a candidate’s ability to do the job today. HR will need to recognize capabilities, not credentials.

Some tech startups are already offering services for this. Degreed, for instance, gives employers a full view of what their employees are learning. It also allows employees to see what their peers are studying and dream up their own paths.

3 Speed up or fall behind

The future of learning will be faster. As skills go out of date faster and faster, the need to pick up new ones quickly will also grow. Financial services firms will need to accelerate the pace at which they reskill their workforce or risk falling behind.

One intriguing possibility for making this happen is the use of AI as a teacher. Companies like EdCast are experimenting with AI in a corporate learning environment right now.

4 Be relentlessly relevant

The faster pace of learning in the future will put greater pressure on learning providers to maintain a close focus on relevant material. Learners will not have time to waste, and will seek the most expeditious teachers they can find. Financial services firms will need to provide education to employees faster than ever before.

This may create an incentive for learning service providers to offer guarantees of competence or opportunity in exchange for using their business. Some, in fact, already do so—such as CyberU, an online learning service that promises customers a job interview if they finish a CyberU course path.

5 Innovate with interactivity

Learning is at its worst when it is a passive relaying of information. HR has long known that interactivity is one key to making new information stick in the mind. Hands-on training beats sitting through a lecture every time.

The future of learning will unlock new ways to make this happen. Successful HR in financial services will constantly experiment with interactivity to boost the effectiveness of knowledge transfer. Already many exciting ideas are in the marketplace. For example, Jolt brings employees together in a single room and then links them to a world-class expert with a live video link.

Add it all up and this list describes a substantial organizational change for financial services organizations. Yet research shows that 70 percent of attempted organizational change fails. What can firms do to maximize their chance of making a successful transition to the future of learning? We’ll wrap up this series next week with a look at some case studies that show the way.


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