How to become a skill-based organization with hands-on learning experiences

5 insights from the Skillable Experience: London panel session.

Nearly half of organizations delay projects due to a lack of skills. 44% are struggling to fill vacancies. And the vast majority—80%—are dealing with skills gaps.

Everyone is talking about skills, yet as attendees at our  first-ever Skillable Experience event shared, few know where to go next! That’s why we brought together top learning and IT industry analysts, executives and strategists for an interactive panel discussion on the importance of experiences and validation as part of the skills-first transformation taking over many organizations.

We know not everyone could attend, so we pulled the most useful highlights from the likes of Microsoft, the Learning and Performance Institute and Fosway Group.

Fosway Group's Chief Insights Officer and Analyst, David Perring, speaking at Skillable's first-ever Experience London event.

1. Don’t be skill-based. Be skill-powered.

We’ve heard HR talk about how important it is to have the right people, with the right skills, on the right jobs. Never has this been more true—and achievable—than today.

“We’ve reached a point where technology can tell us more about the skills we have, the skills outside of our organization and how much they cost to acquire. This is changing the game, but you have to have enough and accurate data points.

"There’s a level of transparency that hasn’t been around before. And being able to measure performance through experiences is another crucial piece of intelligence for opportunities presented by skill-powered organizations."
David Perring
Chief Insights Officer & Analyst, Fosway Group

2. Go beyond theoretical learning to build and validate skills.

“In learning, the key thing is not about what you know, but what you can do.” – David Perring

Alex O’Donnell, Content Experience Manager, from Microsoft completely agrees. That’s why they rolled out interactive learning experiences, powered by Skillable, as part of their live event strategy that give participants a layer of practical skill application above and beyond their theoretical training.

He said, “These events give attendees a safe practice environment that’s nurturing and doesn’t judge a skill—or lack thereof. Instead, it nudges them in the right direction. It creates an authentic, practical environment where learning can happen, be proven and validated.”

AI will be a benefit and hindrance to us—further adding to the complexity, interoperability and our dependency on experiences.

“It’s important people remember that AI is just a technology, like so many that we already use, that can be learned. But it will force the hand of many of us, making behaviors and true capability important as content becomes even more accessible,” said Jon Fletcher, Chief AI Strategist at the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI).

Panelists left to right: Alex O’Donnell Content Experience Manager, Microsoft; David Perring Chief Insights Officer and Analyst, Fosway Group;Jon Fletcher, Chief AI Strategist, the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI)

3. Managers have never been more important.

Both the panel and audience agreed that with the shortening half-lives of skills, it’s more important to identify and train employees with the ability to evolve versus those with the most experience. And this falls squarely on the shoulders of management.

“A mind shift is needed. Yes, managers can understand if someone has the skills they need to do their job right now. But managers also need to identify for how long and to what level. That is far more valuable to their organization’s success."
Jon Fletcher
Chief AI Strategist, The Learning and Performance Institute (LPI)

“Unleashing talent isn’t something that managers necessarily do. For a skill-based organization (SBO) transformation to work, you can’t hold onto people. You must give them opportunities by using skill-based decisions.” – Session participant

4. AI makes learning in the flow of work easier.

“AI and copilots are giving us (L&D) the opportunity to shift outside of our role. By embedding learning in the flow of work, we’ll be in the best position to enable employees to perform better, absorb, learn, etc.” – Jon Fletcher

If you’re unsure how to do this, and most of us are, Jon also suggested “cozying up” with whoever is bringing AI into your organization. Gain some “experience” alongside them. (See what we did there?!) Use this relationship to understand the AI roadmap and what their goals are for the org. Before implementing AI, we must have a strategy, support and understanding of the goals and purpose, versus just jumping on the bandwagon.

5. We can’t predict future roles, but we can prepare for the unknown.

With the rise of AI, many experts predict that the majority of the jobs we’ll have in 2030 have yet to be invented. So if your team or company wants to shift to using skills as the qualifier for work and projects, how will you know what skills to develop?

“Look at the tasks required. If you understand what will be required for a person to be successful in their role, then you can figure out the skills sitting underneath. Think of it as fact checking, reverse engineering, intuitiveness—a different way of thinking by using a backward approach.” – Jon Fletcher

The panel also suggested using data. “When it comes to AI, remove the ‘artificial,’ and think about intelligence. Solutions like Skillable will give us data we’ve never had in the world of L&D on skills validation, capabilities, performance and more. The use of the intelligence element of AI to make truly informed decisions is rising and very exciting.”

Time for real learning in the workplace.

New technologies like virtual labs, interactive learning environments and AI are empowering the rise of SBOs. By integrating learning into work and giving employees a chance to practice and validate it, training will become more contextual and effective.

If you want to learn more, we can help.

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