What is “digital learning”? Most people in the industry define it as “learning at work”, and workplace learning is what we are all about in the Digital Learning Services part of Mastech Digital. We work with our clients on a daily basis to provide learning experiences that are relevant and easily accessed by clients’ employees while they are on the job. Two major factors are affecting the impact this effort has today and in the not-too-distant future.

The first factor is the distribution of workforces on several levels. On a global level, many of our clients are multinational companies and operate seamlessly in facilities spread around the globe. Corporate learning has had to adapt to that kind of operating environment, and many corporate universities with brick-and-mortar facilities have become primarily “virtual” universities. On a local level, we’ve experienced a trend toward more and more employees working remotely, at least part of the time. A recent Gallup survey showed that 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely. This includes employees who work from home offices as well as sales representatives and service technicians who spend most of their time on the road. Digital learning reaches these employees wherever they are with skill development, leadership development, compliance training, and other essential topics.

The second factor is the digital transformation of the workplace. Many experts say that we are on the verge of a workplace transformation unprecedented since the introduction of computers. Continuing advances in robotics and Artificial Intelligence will automate more and more jobs. An Oxford University study determined that 50 percent of today’s jobs worldwide could be automated by 2025, and the American Academy for the Advancement of Science estimates that 50 percent of American jobs could be lost to automation as early as 2030. But along with the loss of jobs to automation will come a growth in different kinds of jobs, particularly technology-oriented jobs. Finding people with the right skills to fill those jobs in the future will be a major challenge for many companies in the future. The supply of people with the right skills will probably not be able to meet the need. Companies looking to transform their technology and business processes need to be critically concerned with transforming their current employee populations and developing new skills in them. Digital learning can help with that transformation too by upgrading the skill of employees in small, easily digestible chunks while on the job.

Although it’s hard to predict exactly what skills employees will need to develop in the next ten years, companies can start future-proofing their employees by training them to be more adaptive and develop skill that resist automation. These include critical thinking skills, complex problem solving, design thinking, creativity and innovation, and change acceptance. When specific skill needs do evolve, employees will be ready, and Mastech Digital – a leading Digital Transformation services company with a robust Digital Learning practice – can help transfer those specific skills too.

James Wallace

Consultant Manager