Learning at Speed Book Summary - Learning at Speed Book explained in key points
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Learning at Speed summary

Nelson Sivalingam

How to Upskill and Reskill Your Workforce at Pace to Drive Business Performance

3.9 (201 ratings)
16 mins
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    Learning at Speed
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    Learning and development departments are like startups – and can fail for the same reasons.

    What makes a business successful in the modern, post-Covid world? A side hustle selling hand sanitizer or video conferencing tools? Well, maybe, but the better question is, What attitude does a business need today? Because there’s one common trait that unites successful modern businesses, regardless of which sector they operate in: the best businesses today are the fastest learners.

    It’s not just a Covid thing. We live in a fast-paced environment that’s changing at an exponential rate, both in the world of work as much as in daily life. Today’s workforce will need different skills in the future – even in as little as five years’ time. But how can you make sure your business is equipped to help its employees learn at speed when you don’t even know what they should be learning?

    The answer is through learning and development – the department that has long been there to upskill or reskill your workers. But there’s just one caveat: to be truly effective in such fast-paced times, L&D itself needs to change too. It needs to think with the agility and growth-driven mindset of a startup. And not just any startup. Many startups fail, after all – and one of the key reasons for their demise is a cautionary message for L&D professionals. 

    Do you remember Quibi? Briefly, in late 2020, it was big news: a brand-new mobile streaming service with an almost $2 billion budget. Its specialty was short-form videos that users would pay to watch. Why did Quibi fail? Because it was solving a problem that didn’t exist. It sat awkwardly between free social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok, and paid streaming services like Netflix. Nobody really wanted or needed that particular gap in the market to be filled.

    Many L&D teams fall into the same trap. One survey found that a staggering 75 percent of managers weren’t satisfied with their company’s L&D. According to another survey, just 12 percent of employees actually applied the skills they learned through training. 

    It doesn’t seem like L&D is solving the right problems with its $350 billion global spend – that’s enough to fund 175 Quibis, by the way! Fortunately, the solution is to do more with less, through what the author calls lean learning. This is a whole new approach for L&D, and it’s ruthlessly focused on getting fast, measurable impact. It’s inspired by successful startups, and it could transform the way your workers learn new skills.

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    What is Learning at Speed about?

    Learning at Speed (2022) is your guide to professional learning and development in the modern world. By adopting a lean methodology inspired by startups, L&D can help businesses thrive.

    Who should read Learning at Speed?

    • Learning and development professionals in search of new ideas
    • Managers looking to upskill their staff
    • Business professionals seeking to understand modern L&D

    About the Author

    Nelson Sivalingam is the CEO and cofounder of the learning platform HowNow, which connects employees with learning resources. He’s also a performance and development strategist, industry writer, and conference speaker.

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