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Technology enhanced learning today - benefits and challenges


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This paper takes a look at the increasing implementation and use of technology enabled learning. Since my first paper on the topic a couple of years ago there have been developments and some great examples of organisations driving great multi-modal learning initiatives combining the technology side with a strong human on...

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Technology enhanced learning today - benefits and challenges

  1. 1. Technology Enhanced Learning in Asia Today – Benefits and Challenges Authored by: Mr Jeremy BLAIN Regional Managing Director, Cegos Asia Pacific October 2013
  2. 2. Contents Executive Summary 2 1. 2 The Use of Technology-Enhanced Learning in Asia Today 1.1 The Growing Role of Technology 1.2 Not Always a Smooth Ride 1.3 The Objectives of this Paper 2. Asia – A Perfect Technology Platform 5 2.1 Internet Penetration and Internet Speeds 2.2 Increased Mobile Take-Up 3. The Increasing Influence of Social Networking 7 3.1 E-Learning’s Continued Rise 3.2 Social Networking 4. The Continued Growth of Online Gaming 10 5. Informal Learning 11 6. A Generational Mismatch? 12 6.1 Different Generational Attitudes 6.2 The Case of India & Singapore 6.3 No Other Option! 7. Learners Going it Alone 14 7.1 A More Active Learner Population 7.2 Talent Shortages in Asia 8. A Check List – Creating the Right Technology-Enabled Environment 16 9. Conclusions 18 10. References 19 11. About Cegos Group 20 12. About Jeremy Blain 21 1
  3. 3. Executive summary With some of the world’s fastest broadband speeds, unrivalled growth in mobile broadband and an insatiable demand for social networks, Asia today is at the forefront of technology-enabled learning, providing greater accessibility and power to the learner than at any time in history. And the fact that internet penetration rates are only at 27.5% in Asia demonstrates that we are only at the beginning. Today, technology developments, such as the rise in social media-related learning and gamification, are already changing the way learners access learning and knowledge, interact with each other, and even structure their learning in relation to their organisation with more and more individuals taking responsibility for their own learning paths. In short, we are seeing a dramatic shift in technologies from social to education and learning ends. 41% of the top 500 companies in China, for example, now use social media and 59% of the 538 million Chinese internet users (a number expected to double over the next few years) use social networking. Imagine if all these tools were used for learning! It would change the training landscape both in Asia and across the world irreversibly. Furthermore, for emerging and fast growing economies, such as India, Indonesia and Malaysia, the embracing of social media tools also offers a unique opportunity to leapfrog previous learning developments. With such dramatic progress, however, there are inevitably challenges. These include uneven technology take-up and advances (South Korea has average connection speeds of 15.7 Mbps compared to 0.8 Mbps in Indonesia) through to potential disconnects within organisations and even within countries (in India, for example, the Prime Minister is 80 and the average age of senior managers is over 60). In some circumstances, this is leading to the radical step of some learners going it alone with their training. There are also the challenges of how organisations can keep control of learning and ensure that their employees have the right skills as well as managing technology among different generations. And yet, there is so much to be excited about in regard to technology-enabled learning in Asia today. Whether it be through e-learning, social learning, gamification or other platforms, technology can be an enormous power for good in corporate learning in Asia. It can enable learning to be more accessible and personalised than ever before; it can have a fundamental influence on how people interact with each other and share knowledge; it can enable countries to leapfrog others and, if managed correctly, it can provide the cornerstone for Asian productivity and success well into the future. 1. The Use of Technology-Enhanced Learning in Asia Today 1.1 The Growing Role of Technology Much has been written about the pre-eminent role of technology in learning provision worldwide and, in particular, in Asia. From e-learning to learning management systems, mobile learning, serious games, gamification, videos, virtual networks, social learning tools and classrooms, Asia remains at the forefront of technology innovation in learning. Take e-learning – arguably the area where technology first had a major impact on corporate learning. Ambient Insight in their report “The Worldwide Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2009-2014 Forecast and Analysis” predicts that Asia will surpass Western Europe as the second largest market for e-learning by 2014 in what is predicted to be a $46.9 billion global market by 2014. Ambient also predicts that the Asian e-learning market on its own will reach $11.5 billion by 2016. 2 © CEGOS 2013
  4. 4. Furthermore, due to the growing popularity of smart phones and tablets, many Asian companies are looking at more flexible and innovative ways of distributing training content to users via technology. Examples include Tata, Samsung, Bank Mandiri and others to name but a few. It is also technology that has provided the catalyst for the growth in more informal types of learning, providing greater power and independence to the learner (more of this later). Furthermore, this technology penetration is also backed up by user demand. Today’s learner is more technologysavvy, looking to be engaged in the learning process, and requiring a clear idea as to where the training will take them in regard to their personal and corporate goals. 1.2 Not Always a Smooth Ride Yet, for all these signs of growth and the continued embracing of technologies within Asian learning provision – whether it be part of a blended package or standalone, it’s clear that technology take-up in Asia is not always a smooth ride. Not only can take-up differ dramatically according to country based on bandwidth capabilities, technology penetration and the cost of mobile devices but, different generations also have different perspectives as to its’ importance. In such circumstances, there is a danger of tension in the workplace and a ‘them’ and ‘us’ attitude within organisations. In some cases, a belief that one’s technology cause isn’t being championed enough can even result in learners deciding on their own learning paths – enabled by technology of course! 1.3 The Objectives of This Paper The objective of this paper is to examine the environment for technology take-up in Asia, its’ impact on learning and what influence it has in encouraging different means of interaction in learning – in particular in the area of informal learning. Furthermore with talent shortages still rife in Asia (10% higher than the global average), the paper will also look at how technology can help create a more educated workforce equipped with the necessary skills employees so desperately need to be competitive. It’s important, however, to set the parameters of this paper in what is such a broad subject. What this paper won’t do, for example, is go into detail on all the different forms of technologies prevalent in learning today. Therefore, if you want a check-list of technology-enabled learning from virtual learning to learning management systems and video conferencing, then this paper isn’t for you (see section 12 for other papers I have written on related subjects). In addition, if you want to read about the enormous impact e-learning and blended learning is having in Asia today, again this paper is not for you (read my paper – ‘Blended Learning : the simple truths, basics mistakes and vast potential of multi-modal learning’, May 2013). What this paper will do, however, is deal with some key questions in relation to newer technology provision take-up in Asia and how it is changing the nature of learning and the relationship between employee/student and traditional trainer. 3 © CEGOS 2013
  5. 5. The paper will also examine how successful Asian companies have been in integrating technology-enhanced learning within their organisations and steps to avoid any potential inter-generational conflict. Questions that will be addressed will include: • Why is Asia proving such fertile ground for technology-enabled learning provision? • What affect is this take-up having on training, particularly in the move towards more informal and social types of learning? In this case, I will look at two recent technology-related learning platforms –social networking and gamification. • Are there potential generational divides between technology take-up and is this creating a potential disconnect in the workforce where learners have to chart their own learning paths? How is this reflected in Asian countries from the more mature economies to emerging markets? • What is the key to successful technology take-up and what can we learn from Asia’s technology-enabled learning success stories? Throughout this paper, I will also be citing examples of Asian companies (or global companies with strong Asian footholds) that are fully maximising technology’s potential. Asia is at the cusp of a new era with the skills of its citizens and how its new knowledge economy develops over the next few decades integral to its’ long-term success, productivity and competitiveness. At the centre of this will be technology. How this technology is managed will determine whether it goes into the ‘benefits’ or ‘challenges’ column. We also provide some key learnings and suggestions for action as a conclusion to our study. 4 © CEGOS 2013
  6. 6. 2. Asia - A Perfect Technology Platform Asia offers the perfect platform for technology-enhanced learning with considerable growth still expected over the next few years. This can be seen in levels of internet penetration and internet speeds through to the growth in mobile communications. 2.1 Internet Penetration and Internet Speeds Asia has 45% of the world’s Internet users (see figure 1), some of the world’s fastest broadband speeds and more rapid growth in mobile broadband than anywhere else in the world. Today, China has a total of 538 million users, followed by India with 137 million, Japan with 101 million and Indonesia with 55 million (Source: InternetWorldStats). China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has also publicly predicted that China’s internet user base will reach 800 million by 2015. Yet, this internet penetration still amounts to only 27.5% (see figure 2) compared to 78.6% in North America, demonstrating huge potential for growth. According to InternetWorldStats, the highest penetration rate can be found in South Korea (82.5%), Japan (79.5%), Singapore and Taiwan (75%) and Hong Kong (74.5%). On the other hand, China only has an internet penetration rate of 40% and India just 11.4%. There is still much work to do and potential for growth. Figure 1 Figure 2 What is of particular relevance to learning is the uptake in high speed broadband (at least 10 Mbit/s) in the region. According to ITU World Telecommunications, in certain Asian countries, such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, it is among the highest in the world. A recent international survey from content delivery provider Akamai Technologies agreed with this finding that out of all the continents in the world, internet speeds are at their fastest in Asia where the top three countries with the fastest average connection speed are South Korea (15.7 Mbps), Japan (10.9 Mbps) and Hong Kong (9.3 Mbps). The World Economic Forum‘s Network Readiness Index also puts Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong in the top 20 countries globally for the quality of their digital infrastructure. However, it’s also important to point out that Asia is also home to some of the world’s slowest connection speeds with, according to the Akamai Technologies survey, India only 1 Mbps and Indonesia only 0.8 Mbps per second – a real barrier to fast and effective technology-enhanced learning. 2.2 Increased Mobile Take-Up Alongside the Internet, mobile phone take-up is also on the increase. Again according to ITU World Telecommunications, in 2013 there were almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people in the world, with more than half in the Asia-Pacific region (3.5 billion out of 6.8 billion total subscriptions). 5 © CEGOS 2013
  7. 7. There were also 895 million global subscriptions to mobile broadband, facilitating the proliferation of smart phones. Today, Asia’s telecommunications operators are making huge investments in their networks with, in China, for example, 3G subscriptions doubling each year (source: Economist Intelligence Unit). Companies Embracing Technology-Enhanced Learning in Asia Global retailing giant, Tesco has set up a learning academy in Korea which will support the growth of Tesco’s businesses in South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, China and India which together employ over 100,000 staff and last year reported £11.0 billion in sales. At the Academy, staff will be trained, mentored and connected with colleagues across the world. Trainees will benefit from the use of SMART technologies, e-learning and tablet computers to enable them to download training materials, blog about courses and share experiences, wherever they are in the world. BASF, one of the world’s leading chemical companies and with 16,000 employees in the Asia Pacific region, has established a global Learning Campus in Singapore to offer a variety of best-in-class learning opportunities to its employees. The new Learning Campus will consolidate all of BASF’s existing learning offerings for professional and personal growth into an integrated global platform with technology at its core. Virtual courses and a number of e-learning tools will also be managed from the campus. Adayana Automotive, a unit of Adayana Inc, runs Asia’s first automotive industry focused online training university in partnership with SIAM (The Society of India Automobile Manufacturers). Participating companies include Tata Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, Maruti Udyog, Bajaj Auto, Eicher, Daimler Chrysler, and BMW – all of who have an immediate need for trained people in their manufacturing and service and support facilities. The growth in smart phones and tablet computers such as the iPad, combined with a faster and cheaper telecoms infrastructure, is likely to have a significant impact on how Asians live their lives, and how they work and learn over the next few years. The Cegos 2012 Asia Pacific survey, for example, found that 42% of learners in Japan/South Korea access learning through tablets followed by Australia at 41%, Hong Kong at 36%, Indonesia at 31%, Malaysia at 30%, and India at 29%. In regard to smart phones, India is the greatest user of smart phones for learning at 22% It is these technological innovations and a strong technology platform combined with a highly driven learner population that is leading to greater accessibility to learning and the more widespread adoption of learning than anything seen previously. Many Asian and global organisations, as demonstrated from the case study box, are placing technology at the heart of their learning. Furthermore, the development of new technology mediums, such as social networking, is also ushering in new ways for employees to access information and interact with each other. The next part of this paper will look at some of these technology developments in greater detail – in particular social networking-based learning and online gaming. 6 © CEGOS 2013
  8. 8. 3. The Increasing Influence of Social Networking 3.1 E-Learning’s Continued Rise As technology penetration in Asia has increased, so the use of e-learning has expanded. Today, as the research from Ambient Insight demonstrates, e-learning is firmly embedded in Asian learning as has been examined in some detail in previous papers (see my paper ‘Blended Learning: the simple truths, basics mistakes and vast potential of multi-modal learning’ May 2013). In the new era of smart phones and tablets, e-learning has also proliferated through a number of different mediums. According to Ambient, the two countries with the highest e-learning growth rates in the world are Vietnam (44.3%) and Malaysia (39.4%). Following closely behind these countries are Thailand, the Philippines, India and China, with 30%-35% average growth rate. 3.2 Social Networking There are other areas, however, where technology is playing a fundamental role in changing traditional learning styles in Asia. This is particularly the case in the area of social networking. Social networking in Asia has increased dramatically over the last few years. In India, for example, as of June 2013, there were 82 million subscribers to Facebook with 62 million accessing through their mobile phones. In Indonesia, as of the end of 2012, there were over 51 million subscribers, Japan 17 million and Korea over 10 million. Furthermore, it’s not just social networking platforms, such as Facebook that are dominating the market. There has also been a significant increase in Asian platforms that originally started out as messaging apps but have since grown dramatically to incorporate other social networking tools. These include WeChat, KakaoTalk and Line. Other social networking platforms often cited include, Cyworld (a South Korea social networking service) and Japan’s Mixi. Just looking at the subscriber numbers of some of these sites (see separate box) – many that Western readers have never heard of – puts into context the growth in social networking in Asia and their potential as a powerful tool for business. Social Networking Sites in Asia – The Present and the Future Cyworld – South Korean social networking service operated by SK Communications. Includes avatars, mini rooms and virtual goods. 1.7 billion page views monthly. Kakao Talk – Free mobile message application for smartphones developed out of South Korea. 24 million use app Kakao Talk on a daily basis. LINE – Japanese proprietary application for instant messaging. 45 million users in Japan, 15 million each in Thailand and Taiwan and 10 million in Indonesia. MIXI – Online Japanese social networking service mostly used by young people (44.6% between 15-24 years old) with over 20 million users. QQ – Chinese instant messaging service used for online social games, microblogging and group and voice chat. 798 million active accounts as of March 2013. SINA Weibo - SINA Weibo is the most visited microblogging site in China. Users can set up real-time information sharing communities individually and upload information in 140 character blocks (like Twitter). 54 million daily active users as of June 2013. WeChat – A mobile text and voice messaging service developed by Tencent in China. 300 million users in China and 100 million internationally. 7 © CEGOS 2013
  9. 9. So what impact has this growth in social networking had on learning in Asia? Whereas traditionally many Asian companies tended to focus on learning in the classroom, technology has helped change this and usher in an era of more informal learning. Social networks, for example, have already started to have a major role in the workplace through enterprise systems, such as Salesforce Chatter and Yammer. Companies, such as Dell Asia, are using a social media platform called Chatter to share information (see case study). In addition, social networking based learning tools are now entering the market such as from Wiztango (see case study). What is clear, however, is that there is much more to come….While social tools are being used predominantly as social tools in countries, such as China, current trends indicate that these tools are now evolving into the workplace learning environment as well – not as separate work/play entities but rather as an extension on how they were used previously. This is perhaps a reflection of the growing integration of all elements of people’s lives. With companies continuing to globalise, an increase in cross-cultural teams and the need for remote working, we are seeing a dramatic shift in technologies from social to education and learning ends. In respect to China, the opportunity for social learning as a means of spearheading learning growth is enormous as some of the statistics in the separate box indicate. Imagine if all these tools were used for learning! It would change the training landscape both in Asia and across the world irreversibly. Social Media in China – Some Facts • China has three of the top 10 global social media sites (Qzone, SINA Weibo and Tecent Weibo). • Chinese Internet users are getting more social with 59% using social media in 2013 – up from 54% in 2012 (Source: eMarketer, February 2013). • 41% of the top 500 companies in China now use social media (Source SINA Weibo/CIC). • 83% of Chinese mobile internet users use instant messaging (Source CNNIC, January 2012). Furthermore, the embracing of social media as a tool for company recruitment (the 2011 Jobvite Social Recruiting survey, for example, found that 89% of respondents plan to hire through social networks) as well as social networking’s role in fostering talent communities provides growing proof that social networks will have a crucial role to play in informal learning of the future. For emerging and fast growing economies, such as India, Indonesia and Malaysia, the embracing of social media tools also offers a unique opportunity to leapfrog previous developments in learning and embrace these exciting new tools and techniques. Whereas, until recently, mobile technology, for example, was almost always used for social purposes (networking, location, groups etc…), it is clear that the Millennials are driving the move towards more integrating technologybased learning. And for learners, this technology-enabled development is introducing a new way of interacting and learning in a more informal environment 8 © CEGOS 2013
  10. 10. Dell –Using the Power of Social Media IT giant, Dell uses social media as a key means of allowing employees to share information with peers and senior management, provide details of events they have attended and ask questions. The platform - Chatter – allows Dell employees to access resources across the world and is particularly prevalent in Asia. According to Bandhani Rai, South Asia Talent Acquisition Director: “we want to give employees avenues to reach out to the leadership and their peers.” Dell has even gone so far as to provide Social Media Accreditation Certificates (SMACs) to employees interested in undergoing just 8 hours in social media training. SMACs play a key role in managing conversations online – an example of employees taking control of their own learning paths in a more formal and ‘democratized’ environment. A Facebook-Like Learning Platform Wiztango, a Singapore-based tech start-up, has launched a learning and training platform that mimics the social utilities of Facebook. Users create a profile and then can take on the role of learner or trainer when they create or join an activity. Each activity is a bite-sized learning and training session or workshop. Within each activity, trainers have the ability to upload their content, whether it be a flash file, video, PDF document or PowerPoint presentation. In the process of instructing, trainers can utilise the platform’s social capabilities to jumpstart discussions. Learners can respond using a comment feature and ‘learn’ button (instead of ‘Like’ on Facebook) to signal they understand a concept. Analytics measuring the number and frequency of comments and likes are available to instructors at the end of the activity The Wiztango platform is still in the pilot phase at businesses in Japan, India and Singapore. The startup also has plans to start a U.S. subsidiary in the next few months. 9 © CEGOS 2013
  11. 11. 4. The Continued Growth of Online Gaming Another manifestation of a more informal side to learning can be seen in the area of online gaming – immersive gaming and simulation – and what is called gamification where key learning inputs are being taken and creative game-based activities and challenges developed to drive the application and embedding of this learning. This is also resulting in rewards-based incentives which can lead to prizes and credits that can be fed into KPIs. Gaming is a medium I have discussed in considerable detail in previous white papers but it is also important to note the impact it is having in Asia. According to a report, for example by Accenture (‘Changing the Human Resources Game: How Serious Gaming and Gamification are Disrupting Human Resources’), “gaming concepts have begun working their way into key HR functions”. The report goes on: “What is new is the increasingly game-friendly demographics of the workforce, and the availability of commercial platforms that have industrialised the development of games and gamification. These factors have made it much more affordable to create and incorporate serious games and gamification into business processes.” So to what extent are we seeing technology-led gaming principles applied to a learning context in Asia? How successful is it in helping to improve retention and recollection of knowledge and in helping learners acquire new skills? As the case study and statistics indicate, gaming is becoming an important technology-enhanced tool in learning in Asia today with traditional gaming companies now developing corporate versions. Chinese game developer Giant Interactive, for example, has collaborated with China’s Nanjing military to launch a game for army training and other serious gaming vendors include Singapore-based Playware Studies Asia and Serious Games International. Text 100 – Integrating Social Networking and Gaming Text100 is a leading global high tech Public Relations agency that has integrated both social networking and gaming within its learning provision. “To create a sense of urgency for our employees to get trained, and to encourage them to gain practical experience, we designed a robust assessment scorecard that rewarded points for attending a training session and personally experimented with social channels such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn,” said Marc Ha, Vice President and Managing Consultant of Text100 Singapore. Drawing on social games, employees are rewarded with badges with titles such as Adventurer, Explorer, Navigator and Trailblazer through a Digital Certification Programme. “Eighty-three per cent of Text100 employees globally are certified ‘Adventurers’, 40% are certified ‘Explorers’ and higher,” says Ha. What we are seeing is another technology-enhanced learning medium which is starting to have a significant impact on learning in Asia and how employees interact with each other and the company trainer. Both social networking and gaming are also leading to a greater degree of informal learning in Asia today. This is what we will look at next. 10 © CEGOS 2013
  12. 12. Why Asia is Such Fertile Territory for Gamification…. • The levels of internet and smart phone penetration. • 65% of Indonesian Internet users are daily users of social media compared to 54% globally. • Nearly half of Internet users across the region play online games every week, 6 out of 10 of them via social networks. • Nearly half of Malaysian gamers search online to learn more about a product or brand they first saw advertised in a game and almost three-quarters of Indonesia’s social network users agree that such networks are good places to learn more about brands and products. • Asia consists of a high proportion of Generation Y (14% higher than the United States) – the demographic most likely to respond positively to gamification initiatives. Source: Accenture 5. Informal Learning It is technology-enabled developments, such as e-learning, social networking and online gaming/gamification that are ushering in a new era of learning known as informal learning. Informal Learning – A Definition “Informal learners usually set their own learning objectives. They learn when they feel a need to know. The proof of their learning is their ability to do something they could not do before. Informal learning often is a pastiche of small chunks of observing how others do things, asking questions, trial and error, sharing stories with others and casual conversation. Learners are pulled to informal learning.” Jay Cross, Author, ‘Informal Learning – Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation & Performance.’ According to informal learning advocates, over 70% of what we learn in life and at work is learned informally. While we could devote a whole separate paper to informal learning, as an overview it tends to include a number of specific characteristics: • Informal learning tends to take place outside traditional training establishments, such as the classroom or training centre; • Informal learning does not tend to follow a specific curriculum; • Informal learning puts greater control in the hands of the learner to chart their own learning path; and • Informal learning arises from the activities and interests of individuals and groups. Informal learning also offers greater accessibility to learners. No longer are you dependent on HR giving you the nod and releasing the necessary budget for training. You can simply start to access your learning via your tablet or mobile phone. Furthermore, with technology and the Internet providing an endless source of knowledge (see separate box), learners can look to a variety of sources to bolster their knowledge. Today, informal learning is viewed by employees as a vital tool in employee training. A recent survey by CARA, a US-based human performance consultancy firm, for example, found that 90% of respondents encourage or support it in some way. The same survey found that 81% of respondents feel that social media offers valuable learning opportunities for employees and 98% agree that social media is changing how employees learn and access information. 11 © CEGOS 2013
  13. 13. However, one potential downside is that the growth of technology-enabled informal learning comes with the potential for friction within an organisation and concern from managers. For example, how can we keep control of learning and ensure that our employees have the right skills? In short, is there a danger of a generational divide when it comes to informal learning? – A Source of Knowledge in Informal Learning is a question-and-answer service built on a social-media backbone that was founded by a former Facebook chief technology officer. The site already attracts high-level executives, journalists, industry insiders and business executives all happy to answer a vast array of questions for free. Training managers can encourage learners to find answers and build activities into learning programmes as well as introducing gaming elements. Alternatively, it can be a highly useful tool for learners managing their own learning paths. 6. A Generational Mismatch? 6.1 Different Generational Attitudes Despite recent technology developments and the emergence of new social networking and serious gaming channels, different attitudes remain towards the use of technology, sometimes resulting in conflict. One reason for this is the different generations that occupy the workforce. Today, many Asian countries are seeing multiple generations working side by side. These consist of the Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1963) and often occupying senior management positions through to Generation X (born between 1964 and 1980), Millennials or Generation Y (born between 1980 and 2000) and the i-Generation or Generation Z (born on or after the year 2000 and likely to start entering the workforce in the next five to 10 years). The whole dynamics behind these generations and how they can be managed for optimum potential is discussed in a previous white paper I wrote (‘How to Get The Most Out of Your Talent Whatever the Generation’, 2013). Such generations often have different attitudes towards technology. While the newer digital generations are bringing social networking and other technology tools into the workplace and are able to communicate and learn from all types of devices, many older generations – many of whom are more likely to be in senior HR positions, for example – are less likely to be able to adapt to these new developments. The danger here is a potential mismatch between HR/L&D professionals who tend to be represented by Baby Boomers and Generation X, who haven’t fully embraced these new technology-enhanced ways of learning, and the learners themselves - many of whom come from Generation Y. This is leading to a growing lack of faith on the part of the learner in relation to their HR departments with these different approaches to technology being one of the reasons for this tension. Recent research from Cegos bears this out with our 2012 Asia Pacific survey finding that less than 1 in 3 Asian Pacific employees go to their HR and L&D departments for information on training and as few as 1 in 10 learners in countries, such as Hong Kong or Singapore. Furthermore, only 55% of respondents in Indonesia received information on training from the HR/L&D function followed by 43% in China and just over 30% in Malaysia. At the lower end of the scale, Hong Kong was just 10% and Singapore 11%. What these figures point to is a growing disconnect between learners and HR departments with technology and the different levels of enthusiasm being ones of the reasons for this tension. 12 © CEGOS 2013
  14. 14. 6.2 The Cases of India and Singapore Let’s take a look at some particular countries as examples of this potential generational mismatch: India, for example, has one of the region’s youngest workforce with the median age of India’s population as a whole 28 – significantly lower than other Asian countries, such as China (37.6) and Japan (44.4) (Source: Euromonitor). Yet the average age of members of India’s cabinet is 64 (Source BBC) with the Prime Minister, Manmohan Sing over 80. The recent Indian cabinet reshuffle at the end of 2012 was billed as an attempt to revive the fortunes of the Congress-ruled government and create a cabinet that better represented India but left most people underwhelmed. The younger politicians who were promoted tended to represent political dynasties, emphasising that not only is there a problem but there is little will to address it. In a country where half the population are in their 20’s and yet where the cast system and age still dominate, this represents a potentially explosive mix in the workforce. This is also being seen in the world of business where, according to a survey by global search firm, EMA Partners International, the average age of Indian CEO’s has actually gone up five years. The average age of senior managers at probably India’s best known company, Tata Group, is also over 60 (Source: India Economic Times). It is demographic information such as this which is one reason why a growing number of employees in India are becoming disillusioned with their leaders who they consider to be out of touch. This is manifesting itself in the training being offered internally where such is its’ paucity that learners are looking to take more control of their own training path through being prepared to pay for their own training and work outside office hours. The Cegos 2012 Asia Pacific survey, for example, found that almost a quarter (24%) of Indian respondents said that a key motivator behind training was the fact that they were receiving insufficient training within their current role (no other country posted more than 7% when answering this question) and that only 25% go to L&D/HR for training information. However, there are signs that HR departments in India are beginning to start embracing technology more. A recent survey by, for example, found that more than 30% of organisations in India plan to increase their spending on HR technology by 10 to 20% in the future. Another example is Singapore. While having a significantly higher median age in the workforce compared to India (39 according to the Singapore Ministry of Manpower), the country’s strong technological infrastructure and strong growth (in 2012, the World Economic Forum ranked Singapore as Asia’s most competitive economy) should make the country a potential reference site for technology-enhanced learning. Yet our 2012 survey found that few Singapore employees receive blended learning; training by smart phone and tablets is limited; and online learning has not been fully embraced. And this, despite Singapore and China being viewed as the top Asian countries in regard to learner initiative - another example of older generations and management failing to embrace new technologies. Another interesting hypothesis worth exploring in this paper is to compare emerging economies, such as India, Indonesia and Malaysia with the more mature economies, such as South Korea and Japan. Are the newer economies that include organisations with greater flexibility and a flatter hierarchical structure doing a better job at meeting learners’ needs and embracing technologies? There are some examples we can point to here. Certainly in Indonesia, for example, a country that despite significant growth recently including 6.2% for 2012 (Source: World Bank) remains one of the least developed countries in Asia, there remains a significant commitment towards training. The Cegos 2012 Asia Pacific survey found that 77% of Indonesian employees have been trained over the past 12 months. 13 © CEGOS 2013
  15. 15. Training is also prevalent throughout Malaysia where 100% of Malaysians received training during 2012 – testament to Malaysia’s economic strategy and its focus on training & development. 6.3 No Other Option! As one can see, technology, while being designed to integrate organisations and bring people together, can also have a divisive effect as well. If those in authority and senior management positions, for example, are not viewed as championing these new delivery vehicles, learners will see themselves as having no other option but to drive their learning themselves. The next section will examine whether this is the case today - whether Asian learners really are going it alone. 7. Learners Going it Alone So is this failure to embrace new technologies and new ways of learning forcing employees to plan their own learning? 7.1 A More Active Learner Population In the past, many Asian organisations tended to focus on traditional forms of training where learning & development took place in highly structured environments with expert-led intervention. This was particularly the case in countries, such as China, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia. There was also a strong cultural element with the human face-to-face contact highly valued and at the heart of a relationship-based society of respect and trust and where those invited to attend a course would view it as a privilege. Our research, however, finds that many learners are now operating outside this structured environment and are prepared to take greater responsibility for their training. The Cegos 2012 Asia Pacific survey, for example, found that nearly one in three Asian learners are initiating training themselves – an acknowledgement perhaps of how technology is changing training and the growth of informal learning but also a possible indictment of the companies’ and HR/L&D departments’ ability to provide it. The same survey found that employees are taking more initiative and control over their learning in China (43%) and Singapore (35%) but also Malaysia, Hong Kong and India. In Malaysia, the Cegos 2012 Asia Pacific Survey found that 16% of employees are willing to pay for their own training and that more and more people are initiating their own training. This indicates that Malaysian employees may well be ahead of HR/L&D in their desire to acquire new skills. India is another example where a highly motivated and self-reliant pool of employees are emerging who are determined to acquire new skills but don’t always feel that their HR and management ‘masters’ our meeting their needs. Our 2012 Asia Pacific survey, for example, found that more Indian employees than in any other Asian country pay entirely for their training themselves (26%). In addition, over 25% of Indian employees – the highest number – identified the desire to acquire new skills as a motivating factor in training. Clearly, they don’t feel they have these skills presently. In Indonesia, our 2012 Asia Pacific survey also found that 44% of employees train after office hours and 26% on rest days, showing not only their commitment to training but a desire to chart their own learning progress. 24% also saw a desire to acquire new skills as a key motivating factor for training, demonstrating their thirst for knowledge and reasons for going it alone, if organisations can’t meet their needs. Other countries, such as Malaysia (21%) and Hong Kong (19%) also put this desire to learn new skills as a key motivation as well, followed by China and Japan/South Korea 14 © CEGOS 2013
  16. 16. What we are seeing is an increasingly vocal learner population that is playing an active role in driving their training programmes across the region and, in some cases, deciding to go it alone. This, as we have already discussed, can be down to a number of drivers from technology developments that are enabling them to do this in the first place through to a lack of belief that their managers and HR departments – many of whom represent different generations – are championing their cause and new technology-enabled learning platforms. 7.2 Talent Shortages in Asia Another possible driver for people designing learning programmes themselves is the ongoing talent crunch in Asia. Despite having some of the fastest growing economies in the world, it is clear today that Asian employers are not finding the skills they need in existing and potential employees. This has led not only to widespread youth unemployment – in Japan, for example, youth joblessness that surged after the 1990’s financial crisis, has remained high despite a fall in the overall workforce (Source: The Economist) – but significant talent and skills shortages, particularly in high-growth markets, such as China and India. A recent PWC global survey, for example, found that around 40% of CEOs report difficulty forecasting talent availability in these regions and the 2013 Talent Shortage Survey from Manpower found that the hardest to fill vacancies in Asia Pacific are for sales representatives. The survey found that today Japan has the world’s most acute talent shortages (where 85% surveyed reported difficulties filling positions) followed by India (61%), Hong Kong (57%), New Zealand (51%) and China (35%). 31% of those surveyed in the region reported a lack of technical competencies (hard skills) as the main reason for difficulties in filling jobs. The end result is reduced competitiveness and productivity. It’s against this context that if the education system and corporations aren’t able to provide would-be employees with the skills they need, they have little option but look to acquire these skills themselves. Technology is a key means of helping them achieve this. The same is the case for recruitment and retention – where learning is key to retention and where many companies use mobile-based recruitment tools to engage candidates and support them when they join. It’s my view that, with the backdrop of the current skills shortages in Asia, that any disconnect and potential tensions represent a real danger to future organisational-wide integration and competitiveness in the region. Whether it be through e-learning, social learning or gamification, technology is a key collaborative tool that can support learners in both acquiring skills and sharing knowledge across the organisation. 15 © CEGOS 2013
  17. 17. 8. A Check List – The Right Environment to Foster Technology Enabled Learning So how can one implement the perfect technology-enabled training environment? How can one create a world where technology is used to its maximum potential across the workforce and where informal learning, facilitated by technology, sits comfortably alongside its more formal counterpart? How can one create an environment which everyone can buy into? There are a number of important points to consider: • Getting the Balance Right! First off, it’s important to get the balance right between technology-led and more formal training interventions. In this way, you can ensure that all generations and members of the workforce are on board. In Asia, classroom training remains a key form of learning delivery, due to cultural variables and the importance of face-to-face interaction. This history can’t simply be swept under the carpet which is why it is important to get the right balance, a key reason why blended learning – a combination between technology-enhanced and traditional classroom learning – is so prevalent in Asia today. • Don’t Forget the Human Touch. Linked to this, it’s crucial not to sacrifice the human touch in all aspects of learning at the expense of the latest next fad or next big technology thing. Today, 79% of Asian learners receive classroom training and this is likely to continue. The blend is key with learning to a large extent based on demand and learners pacing themselves through more accessible and more productive training. • Give Some Structure & Direction to Your Informal Learning. For all the potential benefits of informal learning, it is also important to give some structure to it and ensure that employees are not aimlessly wondering around cyberspace looking for answers. Research by IDC, for example, found that knowledge workers spend 15-30% of their time gathering information where less than 50% of that information was relevant. Learners still require some kind of direction and learning activities must still combine to focus on one learning goal or outcome. • The Importance of Measurement. Similarly, no matter how informal and independent the learning may be, it still needs to be instantly measurable with a clear focus on ROI. In this way, learner progress can continue to be charted and the significant investments in technology can always be evaluated. • Make Sure the Learner is On Board. The learner must be involved and must see the training as relevant to their role and development. This includes the learner having some input into the technologies and tools they use. To this end, learning professionals are key to many organisations’ success today in developing a coherent technology-enabled work strategy. • Make Sure Content Remains the Key Driver – Don’t Just Get Wowed by the Technology! It’s also vital to understand technology for what it is – an immensely powerful ‘facilitator’ and ‘enabler’ that can bring knowledge to individuals in many different ways. The focus must continue to remain on the content and the types of skills being acquired – so critical in Asia today where there are such worrying talent shortages as we discussed in section 7 and where there is a real deficit in technical competencies. • The Power of Integration. Technology success tends to always be greater than the sum of its parts. Whether it be web portals or social networks to drive informal learning, a Learning Management System LMS) to provide an enterprise-wide platform or the latest in gamification tools, technology works best and organisations benefit the most when technologies operate side by side. There are few better examples of this than Tata (see separate case study). 16 © CEGOS 2013
  18. 18. Bank Mandiri – Technology Across the Enterprise & Across Generations Bank Mandiri, headquartered in Jakarta, is the largest bank in Indonesia in term of assets, loans and deposits. The company has been able to use technology to integrate different generations through a crossgenerational learning platform that combines nine different technology platforms into one and creates a unified interface for customers and increasing back-office efficiency. Further developments of its e-learning and training infrastructure is the next step in its three-year, $200 million dollar program to upgrade technology platforms. Bank Mandiri has also provided tablet access across the enterprise and across generations. It is through an integrated approach and an ability to listen to all generations that technology is being maximised for full learning advantage. The Petronas Leadership Centre The Petronas Leadership Centre, which started out as an internal training department in 1979, is now one of the leading training centres in not only Malaysia but across the region, providing training to all generations among the 40,000 employees at Malaysia’s national oil company. The Petronas Leadership Centre covers a wide number of different generations and through technologies, has led to full integration and knowledge sharing across the company. This is particularly important in the oil & gas sector where the industry is especially reliant on older generations in terms of knowledge transfer but is also facing potential skills shortage in attracting younger recruits. The Petronas Leadership Centre utilises technology at the core of all its offerings and includes a number of social networking-related tools including an interactive learning portal, faculty blog, a wide variety of online publications and many other tools. According to Fortune, Petronas is today the 12th most profitable company in the world. Tata – A Complete & Integrated Technology Solution Based in Mumbai, Tata Interactive Systems is one of the world’s leading providers of learning solutions that use technology and standardised tools and processes to enable automation across a variety of different learning platforms. Tata’s e-learning solutions include 3D animation movies; LEARNow™, a mobile learning solution that helps organisations support and enhance the performance of their mobile workforces; learning management systems that can help drive informal learning; client and learning simulations; captivating and educational games for adult learners; and web portals that can support informal learning. It’s through these integrated technology-enhanced learning tools that Tata is today working with many of the world’s Fortune 500 companies as well as leading educational institutions in all sectors from banking to education, government, manufacturing and telecoms. 17 © CEGOS 2013
  19. 19. Using Technology for the Betterment of the Organisation - A Check List • Get the Balance Right • Get Learner Buy-In • Don’t Forget the Human Touch • Don’t Forget Content • Give Structure & Direction • The Power of Integration • Measure 9. Conclusions Technology can be an enormous power for good in corporate learning in Asia today. It can enable learning to be more accessible and personalised than ever before; it can have a fundamental influence on how people interact with each other and share knowledge; and, if managed correctly, its’ incredible benefits should be apparent in all facets of an organisation and with all generations. Furthermore, with the current talent crunch, it’s more important than ever for learners and those providing the learning to work together to ensure the future productivity and competitiveness of their companies. Technology will have a vital role to play and it’s crucial that it be viewed as an ‘enabler’ and ‘integrator’ rather than as a source of friction. You have been warned! 18 © CEGOS 2013
  20. 20. 10. References • Accenture - • Akamai Technologies - • BBC News India - • CARA, ‘How Informal Learning is Transforming the Workplace’, 2010 - documents/CARA_SocialMediaImpact_PulseSurveyReport.pdf • Cegos Group, ‘Major Learning Trends & Indicators towards 2013 within the Asia Pacific Region’ by Jeremy Blain, September 2012 - • Cegos Group, ‘How to Get The Most Out of Your Talent Whatever the Generation’ by Jeremy Blain, March 2013 - • Cegos Group, ‘Blended Learning : the simple truths, basics mistakes and vast potential of multi-modal learning’, May 2013 - • China Outlook Consulting, June 2012 - • CIC - • CCNIC (Chinese Internet Network Information Centre) - • Cyworld - • The Economic Times India - news/28398731_1_retirement-age-average-age-indian-ceos • The Economist ‘Generation Jobless’, April 2013 - international/21576657-around-world-almost-300m-15-24-year-olds-are-not-working-what-has-caused • EMA Partners International - • Emarketer - • Euromonitor International - • IDC - • InternetWorldStats - • ITU World Telecommunications - • Jay Cross - Jay Cross, Internet Time blog, 8 August 2009, informal-learning-2-0/ • Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey - • Kakao Talk - • LINE - • Manpower 2013 Talent Shortage Survey - connect/587d2b45-c47a-4647-a7c1-e7a74f68fb85/2013_Talent_Shortage_Survey_Results_US_ high+res.pdf?MOD=AJPERES • MIXI - • PWC - • QQ - • SINA Weibo - • Singapore Ministry of Manpower - • Tata Interactive - • TimesJobs - • WeChat - • Wiztango - • World Bank Indonesia Fact Book - • World Economic Forum Network Readiness Index 2013 - 19 © CEGOS 2013
  21. 21. 11. About Cegos Group Cegos, Europe’s largest training organisation, is one of the major International players across the Asia Pacific region, based at its Regional HQ in Singapore, and with operations in China and Hong Kong. A network of region-wide Most Valued Partners, and Collaborators, ensures Cegos can support Client training and development anywhere, in any language, consistently and with a truly “Think Global, Learn Local” approach – meaning Cegos is experienced at driving training in the Asian context, not just in the context of the origin country / company. Cegos provide a multi-mode approach to training and development through delivery mechanisms ranging from all forms of Face to Face development, to Blended Learning as is core focus, and eLearning. The content for all delivery methods comes off the shelf (ready-made) across a range of professional and personal development topics for Managers and their teams, can be customised to suit a Client’s environment or can be 100% tailormade – built to exacting client specifications. The Cegos Group was founded in 1926 in France, and is one of the world leaders in professional training for managers and their teams. In 2012, the Cegos Group achieved a turnover of over $275 Million SGD and trained more than 200,000 managers internationally. Email: Web: 20 © CEGOS 2013
  22. 22. 12. About Jeremy Blain Jeremy Blain is a Partner of Cegos Group and Regional Managing Director for Cegos, Asia Pacific, where he heads up Cegos’s operations and activities from the company’s Singapore hub, covering India in the West to the Pacific countries in the East. Prior to this, Jeremy was responsible for Cegos’ strategy for international expansion through a value adding Global Distribution Partners Network and before that as Managing Director of Cegos U.K. A commercially minded L&D entrepreneur responsible for growing Cegos’ business worldwide through his various roles within the company, Jeremy has 12 years’ experience in the industry as a managing director, partner, trainer, coach and program author. In previous roles at Procter and Gamble, PepsiCo and as Managing Partner of his own point-of-sale software business. Jeremy’s background includes marketing, sales, operations and general management. As one of Cegos’ senior executives, Jeremy is a frequent international conference speaker and media commentator on topics related to the global L&D market. Themes include: the integration of emerging and informal learning technologies; the importance of performance measurement and proving ROI; developing ‘core’ leadership, management and commercial skills to achieve competitive business advantage; and change management and how to implement successful international training strategies. For more details, debate or discussion, you can find Jeremy on LinkedIn and also on Twitter at learntheplanet Jeremy has also published a series of white papers on issues relevant to L&D. These are still current and available and can be viewed on Jeremy’s SlideShare portal and include: - Leading and Managing in the 2020 multi-dimensional workplace, September 2013 (A joint research project with TP-THT Asia TransCultural Research Centre, Temasek Polytechnic and Singapore Training and Development Association) - Blended Learning – Truths, Mistakes and Vast Potential of Multi-Modal Learning, May 2013 (a joint paper with TP3 Australia) - Getting the Best out of Your Talent – Whatever the Generation, March 2013 - Major Learning Trends & Indicators towards 2013 within the Asia Pacific Region, September 2012 - Communities of Practice – A Guide to the Business Benefits for Asian Companies, May 2012 - Blended Learning and its Applications for Asian Companies Today, March 2012 - Developing Multicultural Leadership and Management Skills in Today’s Increasingly Globalised Workplace, November 2011 - Global Themes & Trends – European, US and Brazilian Comparisons on the Key Drivers and Issues in L&D Today, October 2011 - Learning in the Cloud – Opportunities & Threats, September 2011 - Cegos/ASTD global learning trends research: A comparison between what is happening among learners today and the perceptions of learning professionals, July 2011 - Training Today, Training Tomorrow - An Analysis of Learning Trends Across Europe and Global Comparisons, May 2011. - Corporate Philanthropy: How Strategies are Changing and How Cegos is Helping to Make an Impact, May 2011 - The Rise of Virtual Learning, April 2011 - What has L&D Learned from the Economic Slowdown, March 2011 - Informal Networks – How They Are Changing the World of Work, December 2010 - Exploring and Interpreting the Most Important Learning Trends across the Globe, May 2010 21 © CEGOS 2013
  23. 23. Copyright © Cegos Asia Pacific, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be emailed to: Cegos Asia Pacific presents the material in this report for informational and future planning purposes only. 22 © CEGOS 2013
  24. 24. Cegos subsidiaries Partners Cegos Asia Pacific Pte Ltd 460 Alexandra Road, Level 26, PSA Building, Singapore 119963 Tel: + 65 6809 3097 | Email: | website: