SumTotal Intelligent Assistant Drives Continuous Self Directed Learning

Jan 07, 2020


Imagine one of your logistics managers adding a note to a team update in Slack: 

“There are a lot of changes coming, and we will need more project managers over the next three years. I wonder who on our team will step up. 

When team member Gerry sees the noteshe wonders what’s in SumTotal for her to develop project management skills. She highlights the words “project manager” in the manager’s note and clicks on the SumTotal Intelligent Assistant (SIA) icon in the toolbar. 

SIA responds immediately:

                                 We found 66 Activities in SumTotal for you about “project management.” 

The list includes videos, books, and online learning activities, including a series of courses  in Project Management Foundations and a Project Management Professional (PMPcertification track. With one clickGerry registers for the Foundations series 

She adds a note in Slack: 

I’m starting project management training today.” 

This is SumTotal Intelligent Assistant in action todayin SumTotal, Chrome web browsers, and your social platforms. Learning “in the flow of work” is now a reality. Your users can find any resource you have in SumTotal, quick and easyat any time. 

Fast search is only the visible top-level interface. The “intelligence” is underneath, in the functions that capture learning data and recommend training based on the user profile. 

A Tool for Continuous Learning  

SIA enables your workforce to perform better by bringing them resources for immediate problem solving  exactly when and where they need it. 

But there is a lot more. As in our example, SIA can also foster continuous learning. 

By now, we are all aware that rapid changes in  technology  are  disrupting industries,  companies, jobs, and careers. According to the 22nd PWC annual global CEO survey, the availability of skills is one of the top three concerns of top leaders. Their concern is that the scarcity of skills is driving up people costs.i  You can help by encouraging your workforce to re-skill itself with a much smaller budget than what a bidding war for talent would cost. 

Motivating Continuous Learning 

The people in your company who like challenges and see learning as one joy of life are looking for opportunities. But what about those who see learning something new as an impossible task? Too busytoo many family obligations, no time, etc.  Do they have learning potential? Can we tap into it? 

We think soPerhaps some of your people can’t adapt themselves, but most can. Some will need a little guidance and encouragement. Some will have to learn how to learn, and you can give them the resources to do it. 

Here are a few suggestions to encourage self-directed, continuous learning in your organization: 

  • Create a positive message by framing job evolution as an opportunity to advance. Don’t let your leaders get hung up on the mindset that you are training people for their competitors. The truth is that people who feel their organization is investing in them will stay. 
  • Leverage your competency libraries to develop career paths for both current and emerging roles. 
  • Make development content available and fund it as well as you can. You don’t have to curate everything yourself. Skillsoft, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and other providers have vast libraries of skill-building  content. 
  • Encourage managers to provide time for learning and your C-suite to ii support it. 
  • Reward learning with opportunities to practice new skills. Build an internal gig economy to provide those opportunities.iii 

In the research we just completed, we found that employees who spend time at work learning are 47% less likely to be stressed, 39% more likely to feel productive and successful, 23% more ready to take on additional responsibilities, and 21% more likely to feel confident and happy.

You may have an untapped reservoir of future skills. Your efforts to grow that talent will pay dividends in attracting and retaining the talent you need to flourish.

i. “22nd Annual Global CEO Study.” PwC, 2019.
ii. Bersin, Josh. “New Research Shows ‘Heavy Learners’​ More Confident, Successful, and Happy at Work.” LinkedIn, November 9, 2018.
iii. Build an Internal Gig Economy to Energize and Retain Talent (Webinar).” Human Capital Growth. Accessed December 4, 2019.

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results. 

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