New Learning – Requirements for Sustainable Human Resources Development

2 hands holding a group of stylized people as a symbol of human resources development

The rapid pace of change in the world of work requires a new kind of learning. Prof. Dr. Ellen Schmid, lecturer at Munich Business School, explains what the human resources development of the future will look like and how lifelong learning will succeed.

The world of work is changing rapidly as a result of digitalization, and new challenges are constantly arising for all of us. Just to name a few examples: Work processes are becoming more complex and challenge us more and more, we also have to act autonomously and self-motivated, find our way around in agile team structures and at the same time build up new networks.

Change in the world of work requires new ways of learning

Due to this constant change, the topic of lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important. In our research project Competencies for the Digital World we have observed that the ability to continually acquire new knowledge independently is becoming a central component of the digital working world (Schmid & Böhm, 2019).

But how can lifelong learning succeed? What does human resources development look like in the digital world?

Together with three colleagues from the TU Munich (Dr. Emanuel Schreiner, Dr. Kristin Knipfer and Thomas Münch) I pursued this question in an article recently published in the journal Personal in Hochschule und Wissenschaft entwickeln.

What the human resources development of the future should look like

In our article we argue that further education on the one hand has to actively take up the changes that a digitalised working world brings with it, but at the same time it should also see digitalisation with its new technical possibilities as an opportunity to completely rethink human resource development. In our view, this is not only about new training content, but also about innovative training formats.

We developed five theses which we believe are central to lifelong learning and can serve as guidelines for human resource managers in companies: Thus, learning must be integrated more strongly into the work context, we must (re)assign responsibility for learning to the learners, human resources development must encourage self-learning competence and the ability to reflect, enable individualised learning experiences and offer more flexibility, and create new digital learning and experience spaces.

These five theses take up the needs of a digitalised working world and allow companies to systematically reflect on their strategy with regard to human resources development and lifelong learning: Do we specifically include informal learning? How do we support individualised and self-directed learning processes? How do we enable employees to manage their own learning? Do we create new digital spaces for experience and learning that bring our employees into contact with future technologies?

The full article entitled „Neues Lernen – Anforderungen an eine zukunftsfähige Personalentwicklung. Fünf Thesen und zwei Anwendungsbeispiele“ can be read here (paywall).

The author is responsible for the content and form of this article.

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About Prof. Dr. Ellen Schmid 6 Articles
Ellen Schmid is Professor for Responsible Leadership at Munich Business School. With a doctoral degree in psychology, she teaches and conducts research on responsible leadership in the digital world, always at the interface between science and practice. After graduating in psychology, she worked as HR Business Partner at the European research center of General Electric before moving to the TUMunich in 2011. There she did research on leadership and taught with a focus on executive education. Most recently, she established and managed the Center for Digital Leadership Development at the TU Munich. In addition to her work in research and teaching, she works as a consultant for various companies.