The Learning and Development Continuum

As with most things in life, the learning and development world works on a continuum. There is a scale on which we can observe practices and give some critical thought to what we are doing. I’d like to give my thoughts on what this scale looks like.

The External Solution

This is where the organisation recognises that its staff needs some L&D support but can’t provide the resources to make it happen internally. External people/companies are contracted to deliver unique solutions which provide some useful information and ways of behaving. Not all staff are engaged and is likely to be for the select few.

The Fundamentals

This is where the organisation actually has an internal L&D function to support it in delivering some core skills. More often than not it’s about technical training, rolling out some form of performance management training, and might include development of e-learning solutions. It may branch out to include some behavioural development, but this isn’t the main focus. Reporting and audits also probably form part of the function.

Doing the Right Things

This is where the organisation invests in an L&Der who has considerable experience and can punch above their weight. They get involved in all sorts from managing external providers, developing L&D plans, e-learning literate, leadership and management training and behavioural training. There’s likely to be involvement in culture development and HR initiatives that focus on staff well-being in some way.

Making a Difference

This is where the organisation has an L&D function that is closely tied in with organisational objectives. The goals and targets of the function have direct impact and consequence on the outcomes and performance of the organisation. This is likely to be inclusive and captures practices including Equality and Diversity, CSR, Well-being, OD, HR generalism, Recruitment and Employee Relations. Culture development is at the heart of this.

Independent Learning

This is where the organisation enables staff to engage in its own learning and development which is not directed or centrally managed. We currently call this ‘social learning’ or ‘informal learning’. It’s where individuals and people in the organisation self-identify what L&D they require, and collaborate with the L&D function to deliver this in varying ways.

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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.

3 thoughts on “The Learning and Development Continuum”

  1. Interesting Sukh… If I may, I think there’s another important piece on the scale which is often overlooked – “Leader Led L&D”. This is where the leader/manager facilitates the learning & development without a formal dedicated L&D resource. To me this is possibly no more aspirational than social learning but seems to be missing out on much of the discussion & rhetoric. Thoughts?

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