The VUCA Era of Design Thinking Tech Enabled Blended Learning​

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Learning & Development will emerge as a critical differentiator with increasing intensity in the times to come. The produce or perish phenomenon of the past is soon evolving to the paradigm of learning fast, learn easy, learn cheap or capitulate in the world of VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous). This holds for the organization as well as individuals. Only the students of a domain will prosper; masters of the field will experience obsolescence, as learning experiences fast-paced changes in all its dimensions.

Learning processes face multiple exigencies. For one the right fit of facilitation, secondly optimization of learning and development budgets and thirdly the most crucial element of all; the transfer of learning and its reinforcement. Thankfully with the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and Private Learning Cloud-based systems (PLC) is now gaining its maturity. Though it will still take time for MOOC’s and PLC’s to stand on their own feet, blended learning is undoubtedly the emerging norm of the day and here to stay.

However, before we dwell into the world of technology, it is also essential to understand the application of Design Thinking in learning processes. Design Thinking primarily is based on the concept of failing early; fail cheaply. Build learning prototypes, test hypotheses, and scale rapidly. Design thinking in the learning space approaches mostly a couple of behavioral changes or skill-sets that would make a sizable difference to the KPI’s established through validated and reliable psychometric and analytical tools.

Once the vital process drivers of change are identified, the intervention is prototyped and initiated. The hypothesis is then scaled across the essential elemental layers of the organization for enabling the shift of business orbits. The process is then backed by the MOOC & PLC to consolidate the transfer of learning. The reinforcement of knowledge is then established through online surveys that bring in accountability to change. Application of Design Thinking-based learning identifies critical learners who then create a mirroring effect across their circle of influence. Thus, the resistance to change gets managed effectively, and the transfer of learning cascades across the organization in the form of a Domino effect.

MOOC’s and PLC’s offer the choice of self-paced learning and structured application of the facilitated face to face learning as a method of revision. Also, it becomes a ready reference learning platform for revisiting the critical elements of education. More in-depth knowledge may also be made available through the MOOC. A process of certification on the MOOC and quizzes enables serious learning, far more enriching than just physical participation.

Design Thinking based Blended learning thus brings in the differentiation by integrating

  1. Psychometric tools & Analytical Tools: Identification of critical process drivers
  2. Face to Face Facilitation: Real-time learning experience
  3. Online learning through MOOC’s and PLC’s: Self-paced learning and reinforcement
  4. Design Thinking Projects: A controlled environment for learning reinforcement
  5. Measurement of transfer of learning through online analytical tools: Accountability towards learning and development

Technology has created ample opportunities for active learning. However, it does come with its inherent resistance through cliched conservative thinking of relying on the only face to face training with no scientific study of behavioral drivers that drive the business orbit shift.

In the world of VUCA, one of the key differentiators will be the emergence of “Tech Savvy Knowledge Enabled Digital Organizations.” Organizations that are “Wise” shall flourish. This would need fast-paced fundamental learning processes which would be enabled only through Design Thinking based Blended Learning Processes.

With the immense need to speedily reinvent continuously in the world of VUCA 2knowledge shall be the critical process driver of businesses. Technology will play a vital role in the fast-paced facilitation of learning. The point is, how soon will organizations awaken to this need?

VUCA, Design Thinking, Tech-Enabled Blended Learning will be a new reality. Are you good to go and enabled for this new Era of Digital Organizations?

Author’s Case Paper on Evolving Learning Methodologies


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