Uber and Lyft aren’t popular because they are cheaper than a taxi or cleaner or even that they are better at getting around a city. They are successful because they save you time and make time saving more obvious. Click the app, pick a car, watch it get closer, get to your destination, get out. Your receipt is emailed to you. Time well spent. Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) shared this observation on a recent podcast of his and its message really resonates; everyone should be in the time saving business and have time saving tightly coupled to what they sell.
I think the L&D industry is trying to get there but it’s incremental approach may not be fast enough. Take rapid elearning authoring tools for example. They’re popular because they are really “selling time” but they are selling time to IDs who don’t necessarily share that time saving with the workers they serve. Rather, they can now rapidly produce even more courses which take workers out of the workflow and slow them down. The desire for increased speed of learning has led to the inevitable rise of “microlearning” (Whatever that means. Shorter courses?). Regardless, these small items are an undefined hot topic… for now. This too will eventually succumb to workers still turning even more quickly to “Googling something” or to a trusted peer. Time savings wins again.
If L&D really wants to be in the time saving business then it be wise to get closer to the work and see where time is being lost. Then, focus on helping employees do the things that will ultimately make them more effective and efficient in learning on their own. Adding a course to their workload isn’t the answer, and neither is floating a short video or knowledge check into their workflow. Today, the things workers need are around greater access, building stronger networks, refining personal knowledge management skills, and learning how best to opening up their work and get quick input and feedback.
Information moves fast, knowledge changes at the speed of conversation, and time is the commodity that organizational learning needs to see the value of … and fast.