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Knowledge: The Missing Piece in the Reskilling Revolution

Roberta Gogos
Aug 11 2021

It didn’t take the pandemic for L&D to recognise that changing technology, regulation, and new working models have long been disrupting jobs and driving demand for new capabilities. The ‘skills gap’ concept is nothing new: in 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that up to 375 million workers —  14% of the global workforce  — would have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 due to the impact and displacement caused by automation and artificial intelligence.

Beyond this, according to a recent McKinsey Global Survey, 87% of executives said they were already experiencing skill gaps in the workforce.

We get it: skills are important. If you invite someone to the race track, you probably want to make sure they have a driving license, right?

But if you got on a plane, would you prefer the pilot who could certify that they had their pilot’s license, or would you prefer to know you were flying with Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III, who safely landed a plane on the Hudson after a bird strike caused its engines to fail? 

I know who my money would be on, and it’s entirely down to a magic combination of skills as well as experience, and easily accessible knowledge. 

In L&D, it’s time to move away from simply absorbing new skills in today’s ‘reskilling revolution.’

We need to move towards making sure workforces have access to the knowledge they need to achieve new business outcomes including selling different products and serving clients better. 

At Fuse, knowledge is at the heart of our approach to learning, and our Knowledge Intelligence Engine is making learning faster, more efficient and more personalised than ever before. In this blog, we’re going to talk about why knowledge is so key to the reskilling revolution, and how our customers are balancing easily accessible knowledge on top of skills to master new capabilities. 

Learning in the Fast Lane

In 2020, the total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed globally increased rapidly, reaching 64.2 zettabytes. As Statista notes, the growth was higher than previously estimated because of increased activity and demand for data due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people worked and learned from home. 

For data-driven workforces, professional life is moving fast. For example, anyone working for a car manufacturer, whether they be an engineer, product safety and testing specialist or salesperson, has got to understand every single one of the latest product features. And as soon as the latest model is mastered, another is hot on the heels or even in production. 

But let me ask you this: do any of these professionals need a whole new set of skills to learn what they need to do to build, test or sell that new car? Or do they simply need knowledge at the point of need to understand what is new and relevant? 

Our Product Director Rhys Giles puts this best in one of his recent blogs

How often do you actually need to learn a new skill at work? It’s unlikely to be daily. It may be quarterly, or even once or twice a year. And even when you do need to learn new skills, do you really have the time to take the online (and often generic) courses used to teach them? 

Now, let me ask you this: how often do you need new knowledge to do your job? If you’re anything like me, it could even be a few times a day. I am always looking for knowledge on how to do things better, or how to perform the next step in a task that I am unfamiliar with.

If our car manufacturer employees had to take a skills-based approach to learning every time a new feature was set to come to market, they’d likely have to sit through a series of courses. Realistically, much of the information would be redundant by the time the course was rolled out. 

But if the idea of reskilling was flipped on its head, companies could explore the idea of making knowledge instantly accessible via learning platforms like Fuse. And ultimately, they may find in the learning journey, while new skills can be picked up along the way, knowledge accessed at the exact point of need is equally important. 

Vodafone Improves Both Access to Knowledge and Performance

Back in 2015, Vodafone introduced the Fuse ‘mobile first’ learning platform for many of its UK employees, and global call centre agents. Since then, Fuse has helped Vodafone along what many may recognise as a reskilling revolution, but what we think of as knowledge helping the company’s employees to keep pace with the accelerated mobile technology landscape. 

Phones and other handheld devices are changing faster than ever before. Vodafone sales people need to understand not just the latest iPhone tech before it even comes out, but also the plans that go with it. Beyond that, they need to hit targets for new sales whilst keeping customer churn at bay, and at times it surely must feel daunting. 

When Fuse began with Vodafone, we helped to design all its existing skills-based classroom training with a blended model that focused on bite sized learning videos. It was also a ‘mobile first’ strategy, where employees consumed the vast majority of learning on their mobile devices. 

Before long, 50% of all access happened outside of work hours, with peaks during travel to and from work - 90% of which was on people's own devices. Employees were able to update their knowledge as and when they needed to, rather than sitting through long courses. They also had access to knowledge at their fingertips, so if they forgot something, they could easily look it up. 

Vodafone also did some serious testing to prove its results. The company put one group through its traditional call centre training approach, and for the other group, all knowledge was put into Fuse, backed by a continuous learning approach. The results were in the NPS’, which were 70% higher by moving away from a course-centric approach to a self-serve on-demand model.

Technology is Key for Continuous Learning

The old way of reskilling and gaining new knowledge was sitting through courses, and in many instances, it’s just that this method of learning was created long before today’s technologies were available. 

Today, we’ve got AI that’s been built by Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM, and we’re able to license, customise and use it in the Fuse platform. AI is helping to speed up search, and to personalise knowledge search results, and even to help predict what knowledge users will need as their roles evolve. 

Technology is developing learning cultures, which are moving away from formalised, course-based learning to encourage day in, day out learning in the flow of work. 

If you would like to hear more about how knowledge in the flow of work can contribute to a better, more purposeful learning experience that impacts the bottom line, download our ebook Knowledge in the Flow of Work today. 

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