Currently, it is more important than ever for companies to develop learning programs that align both with business and organizational goals. Finding the right strategy for employee learning and development is one of the biggest challenges companies face in their efforts to drive better business results, and corporate universities (CUs) are a great resource to engage and prepare employees to face the changing needs of their organization.
Annick Renaud-Coulon is a worldwide expert in corporate universities, the founder of the Global Council of Corporate Universities (GlobalCCU), a network that gathers and highlights and President of Univencis (France).
In this interview with E-Learn Magazine, she shares her vision about the current landscape of corporate universities, the role that learning technologies play in improving their dynamics and the future of employee learning and development.
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The Future of Corporate Universities According to Expert
For Annick, there’s a huge future ahead for corporate education. Here are some of the main trends she identified:
Web giants Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft (also known as GAFAM) in the United States, or Baidu, Alibaba and TenCent (also known as BAT) in China, as well as other digital technologies or social network providers, have begun to invest in the knowledge economy. The financial impact of this is huge—as they inject mass standardized learning content of their choice at a low cost into their educational technology pipeline. Moreover, they promote them directly to the targets of their choice that they track down through browsing Net history. And, like academic education, corporate education will have to continue to be innovative and transform itself so as to not be overthrown by the digitization of the economy and our societies.
2. Training is dead. Long live learning!
As many workers become more vulnerable in their professional lives, others are developing their careers according to their goals and with much success. There are strong aspirations to work differently, to be listened to and have a welcome space for exchanging, sharing and debating ideas. In a short period of time, the act of learning has transformed itself—its unit of measurement has gone from weekly, to daily, and now, to up to the minute—and it must be enjoyable.
This is a great opportunity to note that traditional training is dead. While there are still companies that offer training based on the three-sided relationship—trainee, trainer and knowledge—is this not obsolete in the new knowledge-based economy? This means having to re-think the principles of corporate education…which methods to use, which stakeholders to mobilize, as well as the marketing and communication of learning.
3. The Mobilization of Collective Intelligence
Corporate education has to mobilize collective intelligence, which is never the sum of individual intelligence. Individuals in charge of corporate education will need to be more open to the outside world, to develop their sensors on world changes, geopolitics, the economy and sociologies at work. The advent of CUs has made it possible to elevate corporate education to the strategic level, and to make it a powerful lever for action thanks to the ability to make teams work together.
4. Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility
In this interdependent world where we live in, companies must also tackle the implementation of their social and environmental responsibility and go beyond standard communication. However, I believe it requires that employees go through an education space. CUs and corporate education, in the broad sense, must be involved in the implementation of corporate, social and environmental responsibility. It will be a huge transformation to undertake in western countries, where little effort has been made by corporate education, compared to emerging countries, where there are some very remarkable approaches in this area.
5. Partnerships with Education Systems
Corporate education in general, and CUs in particular, will have to establish more bridges with education systems, without replacing traditional universities, business schools or professional schools. These two worlds should consider themselves as complementary, and combine forces to maintain an edge over emerging technologies and AI.
6. The humanity of the company in a world that is dehumanizing
While technologies are useful, they also create a desperately one-dimensional world. A world of voluntary submission that is very intrusive in our personal lives. A world that threatens our fundamental freedoms. And an unidimensional world based on a dominant culture and language to the detriment of others. Bets are open to know who will win the battle for world leadership between the United States and China. The consequences are on our varying cultures and way of life, and more fundamentally, for our individual and collective freedoms, and therefore, for our democracies.
If we take just the example of facial recognition, 170 million smart cameras are already installed in China, and that number will rise to 600 million by 2020.1 Today, if Mark Zuckerberg is struggling, it is because a wave of revolt against the GAFAM is beginning to rise on the part of politicians and public opinion, and that is good news. Nevertheless, if we imagine that Americans may be able to follow Europe in its requests for protection of personal data, it will not be the case in China—where private life doesn’t have the same importance.
Corporate education will therefore, increase its efforts to develop learning in judgment and thought, critical thinking, as well as the pleasure of working with others. It will be a place of education only by becoming a place of culture—not only company culture, but general culture made available to employees. Therefore, corporate education will contribute in its own way, to our world emerging from the populist, individualistic, destructive, robotic and dehumanizing rut into which it sinks into a little more every day. Corporate education will remain a link in the education chain throughout life. With humility, it will have to learn for itself. Every man bears the whole stamp of the human condition, said Montaigne. Is there not a more beautiful survival manual?
Annick Renaud-Coulon is a worldwide expert in corporate universities, the founder of the Global Council of Corporate Universities (Global CCU) and President of Univencis (France).
1 Les Echos, 3 de abril de 2018
AFP Nicolas Kovarik