The L&D Ladder of Success

“I’d like a Learning and Development degree.”

“Erm, sorry, but Learning and Development is what you go through in order to get a degree.”

“Sure, I understand that. What I’m interested in is gaining a degree in Learning and Development so that I might start a career in this field.”

“Oh. Really? Well, have you thought about doing a HR degree?”

“Yes. It doesn’t cover what I’m looking for. I don’t need to know about policies/grievance procedures/comp and bens or recruitment to be good at Learning and Development, do I?”

Not the conversation happening around the post-graduate market at the moment in the UK. As I said in my post last week, there is no natural entry point for L&D. I was lucky that as part of the Occupational Psychology course I did there was a module on Learning and Development which piqued my interest enough to follow through a career in this field.

But since then, and looking around, there’s no real educational qualification that gets you in. There are plenty of certifications and I’ve even found a Foundation Degree being offered by the University of Brighton, but nothing as lauded or as valued as a post graduate degree, or even an undergraduate degree. Although, even I’d admit to saying that we’d be hard pressed to fill 3 years of a course with learning about learning and development.

So what would I envisage being included in a full time educational course like this?

– The L&D cycle – spending time understanding how to do the analysis, what does it mean to design a course, how to deliver the session, and what evaluation is all about. This couldn’t be a singular module, it would need to be a running theme across everything the course covers as it’s everything we do.
– Understanding various theories on learning styles – everything from Kolb to Honey and Mumford to the steps of competence.
– Being exposed to various personality theories – useful in helping to understand how to identify behaviours and adapt your behaviour to respond apprporiately
– Learning about common subjects that are trained on, and what are the common elements – e.g. on Time Management everyone talks about Importance/Urgency, Procrastination and Dealing with Time Stealers, on Assertiveness Training everyone talks about How to Say No, Difference between Assertiveness, Aggressive and Passive behaviours, Bill of Rights.
– Learning how to deal with group dynamics
– Learning how to be an effective facilitator
– Gain some qualifications in key tools such as Belbin/NLP (oh the pain!)
– Recommended life books which are just bloody amazing – 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Tipping Point, Who Moved My Cheese, Emotional Intelligence
– Emotional Intelligence! – how this theory brought a whole level of sophistication to understanding human behaviour
– Understanding basic psychology theory on topics like memory, human interactions, human development, ethics, conformity, and even some layer of stats
– The various evaluation methods, what’s good, what’s not
– Learning Management Systems – why we have them, what they’re good for
– How to develop effective e-learning solutions
– What do Coaching and Feedback mean in the context of an L&Der
– How to develop an L&D strategy
– Understanding of commercial aspects of a business and how L&D needs to understand how a business operates
– How to develop business simulation exercises

That’s all I have for now. But if you look down that list, I’m sure more things could come to mind. The only question remains, which educational establishment is going to pick it up and make it happen? I want all credit given to me, and a royalty would be nice too, thanks very much 🙂

On Friday 17th August I’m running an event called Positive Psychology in Application. It’s going to cover a range of topics to do with Positive Psychology. Book now to attend and learn more.


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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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