Q&A with Amy Crawford: Digital learning and the future of work

Amy Crawford, Managing Director at Avado Learning, shares her take on the impact of digital learning in the workplace and the future of work

Q&A Amy Crawford Avado


CIPD: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role at AVADO?

Amy Crawford (AC): I’ve worked in online education at AVADO – a multi-award winning, international digital learning provider – for nearly 8 years. During that time, I have led AVADO’s exclusive partnership with Google in the design and delivery of Squared Online, Google’s digital marketing and leadership certificate. I’ve also spent the last 2+ years working closely in partnership with CIPD to develop their world-class digital HR & L&D programmes. I am hugely passionate about the power of great learning and what it can do for organisations and individuals’ careers.

How can professionals gain value from a digital CIPD qualification in the short term? And long term?

AC: When studying our digital CIPD qualifications, learners have access to the latest thinking from the experts at CIPD, delivered entirely online through our award-winning Virtual Learning Campus. Our graduates consistently tell us that having access to the most up-to-date professional HR knowledge was paramount to their learning experience and gave them the confidence they needed in the workplace to do their jobs to the best of their ability. 

A CIPD qualification is all about long-term career impact - 73% of our recent graduates have already progressed their careers and on average boosted their confidence by 30% through getting qualified. Whether you are moving to the HR profession from another industry, getting back into HR after a break or looking to progress your career, our digital qualifications give you the skills and assurance you need to make the next step.  

From a business perspective, we understand that great people management and development is vital to unlocking employee performance and culture change. As such, our learning experiences are designed with performance improvements in mind, that can be immediately applied in your workplace. It’s not just about the content, but the way we deliver our qualifications, which sets up learners with the best working practice ensuring the best outcomes for your business. 

How can AVADO support businesses with their day-to-day HR challenges?

AC: At a time when digital transformation is rife, learning with AVADO gives learners digital skills and confidence that cannot be found in face to face learning methods, ensuring they are up-to-date and confident in digital. As well as developing your employees' HR knowledge and skills, they will also experience modern digital learning methods and techniques that they can apply in the workplace. 

Online learning enables your employees to develop their knowledge and skills in an enjoyable, highly efficient and cost-effective way. As the whole qualification is delivered online, it means learners can fit their studies in around their current commitments and learn at a time that suits them and your business. Your employees can enjoy the benefits of live online sessions and collaborative learning without the hassle of travelling to training centres, incurring travel costs and time away from their workplace.

At the foundation level, our internationally recognised qualifications will support career development by providing a foundation to build on and an introduction to the knowledge and capabilities needed by today’s HR professionals. At the intermediate level, studying with AVADO will give your HR function a good understanding of how HR fits into an organisation’s strategic objectives and how the use of HR data can improve business performance. Whatever the size and location of your HR function, you can rest assured that their learning will be consistent and collaborative and ensure that your team becomes the backbone of your organisation, driving positive change.  

What are your predictions for the future of digital learning in HR?

AC: For an HR professional’s development, it could be the key to unlock access to much-needed continuous professional development due to its proven effectiveness and unprecedented flexibility. For HR interventions in their businesses, it will be one of the major methodologies deployed to fulfil learning needs at scale in an increasingly border-less working environment, for the same reasons. 

Digital learning will be a key driver of transformation within the HR profession. Whilst ours is one that is highly dependent on human skills, as a result of increased technological advancement our routines and activities are already becoming outdated. In order to keep up with the rapid rate of change, digital learning methods will need to be deployed at scale, flexibly and quickly. 

Learning in a digital way is the only bridge between increased technological advancement and human adaptability – and even then, human adaptability will lag behind!


In your opinion, in what area of HR should professionals focus on to be leaders of change within their organisation?

AC: If HR is not an engine for evolution, frequent transformation, it will be left to operational or other specialist functions and that could lead to change being managed ineffectively. 

HR’s role will also be one of facilitating the interaction between humans and machines; helping these vastly different, both complicated, “beings” get the best from each other will be something that the HR profession has to overcome, and future modes of learning such as AI and AR will play an important role in facilitating this important relationship. 

The future of work is here; you’ll find it in pockets, but it’s here to stay and it will grow. To get ahead of this change, HR professionals should focus on their depth of knowledge and understanding of their internal and external environments and the implications of technology on the way people work. Keeping a sharp eye on human-centricities such as facilitating culture, acutely improving the skills only humans have and apply, and making sure each and every employee experience is positive is also imperative. HR can bring the meaning to anything for anyone; this will be critical in a world where machines manage the routines. 

The final focus will be on facilitating real, meaningful, effective learning experiences and going beyond the “once and done” approach – making sure learning is applied, the environment is created for effective learning, and linking learning to everyday innovation as well as “big bang” innovation.

Your keynote session is called ‘Building Brilliant HR Teams: increase collaboration and expertise through digital learning’ – as a small teaser, can you share one of your tips to create a collaborative environment within HR teams? 

AC: The HR profession has come under a lot of scrutiny and been through difficult periods in terms of structure, roles and responsibilities. But the truth is, roles and responsibilities haven’t actually changed much. The key is collaboration. Collaborate using technologies to solve problems, improve relationships and drive learning across your businesses. Facilitating collaboration needs to be purposeful, practiced and consistently improved; develop the habits that drive collaboration such as ensuring clear communication, and developing meaningful relationships in and amongst HR teams.

Meet Amy and the AVADO team at the CIPD Middle East People Conference and Awards on 10-11 April 2019 - secure your seat today!

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