Decentralization and ‘Shadow Learning’

Decentralization and ‘Shadow Learning’

Since the mid-2000s and probably earlier, highly motivated business units have been buying, launching and managing their own I.T. systems and applications. These rogue applications became known as “shadow I.T.,” because they exist and function outside the control and consent of a centralized I.T. organization.
The standard centralized training organization faces similar disruption from business units delivering training solutions outside of its consent and control: “shadow learning.”
There are very good business reasons why shadow I.T. grew beyond what the traditional I.T. department could handle. As is the case with shadow learning. Here are a few reasons for the shadow phenomena, and how it is extending the learning industry and becoming an acceptable practice within companies worldwide:

1) Bottlenecks versus “Get it done!”
Learning projects must be prioritized, with more and more departments requiring L&D to create more customized courses and learning content. In today’s business climate, the value of moving faster with existing digital content and easily created assessments often outweighs the benefits of the slow, traditional course development process. Not only that, but new SaaS platforms like Litmos allow for quick application acquisition with a credit card and enable deploying learning to thousands in minutes, not months.  Speed and ease of use are game-changers, bringing huge value to the individual departments that are just trying to meet the rapidly changing needs of the business by quickly releasing training to the learners in the field. The new Cloud-based platforms are enabling every department in each organization to realize real savings while continually investing in their workforce, reducing ramp-up timelines, and better aligning messaging across channels.

2) Talent management and learning systems consolidation: Who owns training now?
As talent management and learning management vendors continue to consolidate, a massive vacuum is created, causing questions of who actually “owns” learning. With learning becoming a competitive advantage, we now see how different departments can benefit from supporting their unique training needs.  For example, customer training departments moving from classroom to digital should not have to work with HR to build customer training. And how about sales enablement and training situations where sales reps have to be kept abreast of latest product features in order to prepare them for customer scenarios? In all of these examples, it would be much simpler and more effective for the department to own, rapidly create, and roll out training without the oversight of a centralized training organization like that with a HR department.

3) Legacy platforms versus consumerized apps
Traditional technology platforms have been focused on the admin user and management reporting, not on the end user. Business users expect a modern, agile, easy-to-use application with an effortless user experience. Additionally, as the workforce is changing, systems that allow quick and easy access to training and content anytime and anywhere is paramount.  While legacy systems require VPN-based logins and cater to the administrator, modern learning management platforms like Litmos focus on the user. This perspective favors quick access to training, ease of use, mobile enablement, and driving user adoption and engagement while providing rapid rollouts. But it also supports the needs of admins and managers with real-time reporting and other administrative functions that support the training function. For years, learning has been reserved for selected topics and departments, leaving the rest of your business to simply communicate via emails and ad hoc meetings.  Litmos offers an innovative and intuitive solution that rescues companies from outdated learning mediums. It places the learner experience and administrative agility at the forefront.

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