Have you ever wondered what is going to be the impact of industry 4.0 on the learning landscape? With industry 4.0 becoming more prominent, many technical changes would be happening in the industry. If you are an HR or an L&D Professional, then it becomes your responsibility to ensure that the workforce is appropriately aligned to this change. That means you will have to first sensitize the employees on the need for the change, onboard them for the change process, and help the employees gain new skills.

The way things were being done till now would be done differently once industry 4.0 is implemented.

So, let us first understand what Industry 4.0 is:

Industry 4.0, which is also considered the fourth industrial revolution, would redefine the entire value chain. With Industry 4.0, there will be a lot of digitalization, and humans and technology will co-exist. Machines would be talking to each other and making decisions on their own. Some of the technologies that are a part of Industry 4.0 include Robotics,  Big Data/Analytics,  Internet of Things (IoT), FRID Technologies, Cognitive computing, Cloud Computing, Mobile Technologies, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 3D printing, Cyber Security, and machine to machine talking. So, with all the technologies coming in, there will be a huge impact of industry 4.0 on the learning landscape, for which we should be fully prepared.

Impact Of Industry 4.0 On The Learning Landscape

Impact Of Industry 4.0 On The Learning Landscape

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Don’t close your eyes, instead prepare for the future

Many organizations could be in the denial stage, and they would be defending that Industry 4.0 will not be impacting them. Still, many organizations have started preparing themselves and the way they are reskilling the existing employees or hiring new employees to fully prepare for a future where smart machines improve their business.

Is your current workforce fully equipped?

Now the question is, “Is my current workforce fully equipped with these Technologies?” If the answer is no. This means you will have to impart the right skills to the Employees to cope with the new technology.

Many organizations globally have already started upskilling the employees on the new technologies, but many organizations are still to make a beginning.

The organization will have to create their blueprint in terms of the technology upgrade they would bring in their organization with the implementation of industry 4.0.

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the technology up-gradation blueprint print is ready, the Learning and Development Tribe will have to collaborate with the business to identify the current skill set and the future skillsets required.

Once a gap analysis has been done, then detailed individual training plans will have to be created for all employees so that their skills can be upgraded.

Managing the training needs is an essential step in mitigating the impact of Industry 4.0:

Based on the current level of employees, the training requirement for each of the employees is going to be different. That means that a one-size-fits-all training methodology would not be sufficient.

So, a customized training plan would be required to address the individual training needs of all the employees.

It would also be required to track, as to what was the training need, and what training has been imparted to that employee. So, very close coordination would be required, and a lot of documentation would be needed so that the training can be effective and the desired outcomes can be obtained.

How industry 4.0 will impact the learning landscape?

Let’s take a common example of how the security of the plant is being managed as of date. Currently, we would have a security department for an organization, and they would be having a handful of employees that would be using CCTV cameras and patrolling parties for monitoring various locations in the plant.  In the times to come, we would be more dependent on drones, which would monitor the entire premises. In case any untoward incident happens, for example, if an accident has happened and it is challenging to provide access to human beings to that area, then drones are the ones that would come to our rescue. Drones would be utilized to reach that area, neutralize that area, and see that anyone who is stuck in that area is taken out safely.

This would mean that our security team has to be trained on drones’ usage and see that the best use can be made.

A lot of manual processes for example machining, which is currently done manually, would be done by the robots. In such a case, we would have to ensure that the robots’ programming is done correctly, the maintenance of the robots is done properly to get a defect-free product. Earlier, the people who were required to do the machining operation would now be required to maintain the robots. This would mean that the skill set of the people would change. With this modified skill set we would also have to ensure that the required training is provided to these people to perform their new responsibilities effectively.

Some common challenges to overcome the impact of Industry 4.0 on the learning landscape:

  1. Average employee age:

    If the organization is new and where the employees’ average age is less, this change would still be an easy process. However, if it is an older organization where the average age of the employees is higher, then the reskilling of employees could be a challenging process. So, plans have to be prepared accordingly.

  2. Is your organization a learning organization:

    If you have been a learning organization and you already have a learning culture, then this transformation would not be difficult, but if building a learning culture had been on the back burner, then this might pose challenges in your transformation journey. In such a case there will be a high Impact Of Industry 4.0 on the Learning Landscape of the organization.

  3. Creation of Master Facilitators:

    To conduct training programs, organizations will have to create master facilitators, who can impart this training either through classroom training, virtual instructor-led training or through eLearning.

  4. Creation of training material:

    Based on the training needs that have been identified and the learning objectives that have been prepared, appropriate training material will have to be prepared that addresses the concerns.

  5. Training approach:

    The conventional classroom training in such a case would not be as practical as it used to be earlier. Now we would have to rely more on customized training and learning at their own pace, and a lot of microlearning also would be required. If a new concept is being taught to the learner, a detailed program is probably required, which will address various elements of the topic being covered. Since we would not have too many participants for the training, it would become economically unviable to have a classroom program. That is where a self-paced learning program would be helpful. The theoretical aspect would be covered through this training, and then the employees would be required to demonstrate the skills in the workplace.  If you look at, we are again referring to the 70:20:10 method of learning.

    To reinforce learning, microlearning programs would be beneficial, where nugget learning will reinforce the concepts that were taught earlier. Also, drip-feeding of the training module would be highly recommended. When a learner has completed one topic and gone ahead and practiced it, the next topic would automatically be assigned to the learner. This would and sure that learners not only understand the theoretical aspects of the topic but also go ahead and practically implement it. So we would have to rely on various learning management systems with the built-in functionality of drip-feeding.

    Another critical point that has to be considered is that the courses should be mobile friendly. So that the learners can take the courses at their convenience and when required. What so ever training approach is adopted ROI of the training should be considered.

New topics that were not that common earlier:

With industry 4.0, there would be a lot of emphasis on machine learning and artificial intelligence. We would require people who understand machine learning and AI to create models and programs that can analyze humungous data and take decisions without human intervention. A lot of technology topics would have to be included so that it addresses the requirements of the various pillars of Industry 4.0.

Involvement of the Senior Leadership:

To bring this transformation to the organization, the first and foremost thing is the vision and the commitment of the senior leadership. Senior leadership should be fully aligned to embrace the change and prepare the people of the organization accordingly. If the change has to be sustained in an organization, it is essential that there is a total employee alignment and participation from all levels of employees. For it to happen, the need for change is to be appropriately explained to the employees, and their opinions should be taken so that employees at various levels are fully engaged. People should be motivated to embrace this change then only they would be willing to learn the new technologies and the new concepts. The urge for learning will have to be created. At the same time, please might have a fear of losing their jobs. It becomes essential for the Senior Management to address it appropriately.

As the earlier industrial revolution changed the way industries used to work, Industry 4.0 will bring new challenges and opportunities for the HR fraternity to equip the workforce accordingly.

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