One of the primary demands of a changing world is to continuous learning. If you have to stay relevant, you just have to keep upskiling yourself. To do the same, an organisation’s L&D department also needs to keep updating itself and incorporate new ways of learning.
One of the new ways of learning is invisible learning— a methodology where learning is an in-built process in the organisation. The employees themselves drive their own selves towards learning new things and adding new skillsets. The principle behind invisible learning is that employees take the initiative to learn themselves, and they learn whatever they want and whenever they want to.
To understand this more clearly, let us look at a structured learning process. It is solely prepared by the L&D team for the employees, who follow it to the T. This is visible learning. On the other hand, an unstructured way of learning, where L&D is just a facilitator to employees can be called invisible learning.
The mindset of Indian employers looks quite positive towards the concept of invisible learning and some of them have made room for it in their respective organisations.
“At Mahindra people can use the LMS system such that they can learn whatever they want outside their regular role as well”
As per Prince Augustine, EVP-group human capital & leadership development, Mahindra and Mahindra, 80 per cent of their L&D process is structured and 20 per cent of it is free. Employees can learn whatever they want and can get all the resources from the LMS system.
“People can use the LMS system such that they can learn whatever they want outside their regular role as well,” says Augustine.
Varun Upadhayaya, group head-HR, Wockhardt, narrates an incident that took place in their organisation. Once a group of employees wanted to learn how to work on Excel. The L&D team organised a few learning sessions for them by professionals, and it turned out to be a great success.
This is a very small example of how the L&D can support the process of invisible learning.
“At Wockhardt, employees are free to learn whatever they want and we supply them with the materials and resources through various mediums, including online,” mentions Upadhayaya.
“The adoption of invisible learning is quite low right now in the Indian corporate world, but slowly it is gaining popularity”
There are certain ways in which organisations can build an invisible learning culture:
Clear communication at all levels – First, the organisation needs to clearly communicate the organisation’s goals and align them with the personal goals of the individual employees. This way, the employees will strive to work on their personal skills, which will also help the organisation to grow.
Promote collaboration, interaction and team work – Encouraging employees to network, interact and share their ideas about learning and growth can really help. Give them online and offline platforms to collaborate and interact. They can learn from their peers and together achieve goals.
Be supportive – The L&D department has to support the employees in their own learning process. They should help them by giving them various resources and access to knowledge, so that they can create their own learning processes and paths.
Encourage communication – It is crucial to encourage employees to speak up about what they want to learn so that the organisation can make arrangements and create processes to facilitate them. Communication is important.
“I feel in India, people do learn when the need arises and I see many excited millennials with an attitude to learn new things, especially in technology”
“The adoption of invisible learning is quite low right now in the Indian corporate world, but slowly it is gaining popularity,” shares Binoj Vasu, chief learning officer, Yes Bank.
Self-directed learning depends a lot on the trust of the learner. But HR leaders believe that the new generation wants to learn new things and stay relevant.
“I feel in India, people do learn when the need arises and I see many excited millennials with an attitude to learn new things, especially in technology. Being a progressive organisation, Wockhardt always appreciates new concepts and methods to grow the business,” mentions Upadhyaya.
Learning should always be a process, which is not forced but facilitated at organisations. Only then will you be able to create a better learning culture and make the business grow.