Digital disruption has, for several years, been a reality in many sectors. But now it has also entered the office and the lives of white-collar workers, and, whether they like it or not, consultants, trainers and coaches are also affected.
LMS platforms, content creation and management, increasingly advanced communication technologies… These and many other aspects – which Covid has merely accelerated – are also radically changing the rules of the game in the field of business training.
Is this the end of these professions? No, at least not necessarily. But it is time for a fundamental shift: a cultural transformation that is so profound that it is anything but obvious, much less immediate.
Digital training is not classroom training brought online, but something completely different, in terms of its design, the methodology used and the tools deployed.
It took several years after the launch of the Internet for Web 2.0 to develop, in other words, the real and specific potential of the new environment. Until the early 2000s, the Internet was nothing more than a series of silent, motionless showcases, a two-dimensional reproduction of physical reality.
Science fiction novels are an excellent way of thinking about the significance of a paradigm shift towards an unknown future.
For example, The Wonders of 2000 by Emilio Salgari (1907) tells of a highly automated world thanks to electricity, where contraptions are powered by fantastically long cables. Salgari did not imagine the possibility of wireless connection.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968 – the basis for the film Blade Runner) portrays a society where people live with robots that are so evolved that they are indistinguishable from human beings, but still go to work in (flying) cars in office blocks swarming with people. No working from home.
These are just two examples of how relatively easy it is to imagine the incremental development of a single object or a single phenomenon of which we already have some knowledge.
It’s another thing altogether to step out of the box, that is the hidden structure of our daily lives and minds. In short, a paradigm shift.
That is what anyone working in the field of people development is called on to do today, whether as a user in a company or as a provider of training and coaching services. We must change, or rather transform the old attitude into one that may not fully exist yet, but for which the foundations are in place for building truly effective digital training.