Globalization, Connectivity, and Engaged Learning


Globalization impacts almost everything about modern life, from the products people buy, to the languages they hear and the interactions they have. What is one of the main indicators of globalization witnessed on a daily basis? People from all over the world living, working and interacting with each other. According to the United Nations Population Fund, today, the number of people living outside of their country of birth is larger than at any other time in history. In almost every location in the world, uniformity is giving way to diversity.

For example, the population of an increasing number of countries is extremely culturally mixed, and on top of that pretty sophisticated. There is high mobility among individuals, with thousands of professionals traveling every day for long and short work-related trips. With more and more companies employing people in different countries across the globe, and with the regular advances in technology, the borders of time and space are disappearing.

This all means that global employees and business leaders need to truly understand the impact of culture on their work and pursue learning initiatives that will help them leverage diversity to see better results. And when it comes to employee learning, organizations can harness the power of increased workplace connectivity to their advantage.

Workplace connectivity includes daily face-to-face interactions within the office, as well as conversations via virtual communication software, video conferencing, and social media websites and apps.

All of this connectivity is changing the face of employee learning. Indeed, 80 percent of corporate knowledge transfer takes place through interactions, whether that’s synchronous, asynchronous, virtual or face-to-face. Conversations about controversial topics are happening over social media, whether corporate leaders engage in those conversations or not. Dissatisfaction in the workplace travels very quickly and can really break a learning initiative.

Social learning allows employees to create solutions and be part of the knowledge transfer together with their cohorts, which is critical to keeping them engaged and developing stronger capabilities inside an organization.

There are three main areas of focus when it comes to keeping learners engaged: Know the learner, feed the learner and connect with the learner.

To know the learner means gauging what they want, what their needs are, what demographic they come from, and what motivates them. This includes what their language capabilities are, what function they are in, if they have any special needs, and whether they prefer virtual or face-to-face learning.

Feeding the learner means making sure they have access to learning opportunities 24/7. Today’s adult learners are always on the go, and need access to knowledge on their desktops, tablets and cell phones. That access has to be user-friendly and comprehensive.

To connect with the learner means situating them in practice groups and communities of excellence that allow them to engage in knowledge transfer and information sharing with their counterparts on a regular basis.

These three focuses of learning-engagement initiatives help organizations make sure their employees have the knowledge and skills to keep themselves – and their companies – competitive in a globalized world. After all, diverse and engaged employees can, with the right learning initiatives, better reach a diverse and engaged client base.