The Creative Challenge of L&D

Scenario 1

“We’ve developed a new product that we need to train our staff how to use.”

“Sure, what needs to be done?”

“A course on everything about the product from its design to its actual usage to its potential use.”

“No worries. That’ll probably take two weeks to learn all that, a week to design and then a month for training roll out.”

“Not good enough. It needs to happen in 3 weeks with a go live date in 4 weeks.”

Scenario 2

“My team are really struggling to get along well. They’re over worked, under resourced and only been working together for six months.”

“How can I help?”

“Could you facilitate a team building day?”

“Sure, and what’s the focus?”

“Oh we need to develop a strategic plan, get to know one another, agree personal objectives and save the business money while we’re at it.”

At its core, L&D has always been about information delivery and data delivery. Product development or marketing campaign or leadership competencies are all about information delivery. Its intention is always about giving people knowledge and letting them decide how to use it best.

Along the way came a science (of sorts) of behavioural and business success. That is, what are the behavioural traits a person displays that helps them also be successful people. That lead way to a great many persons who thought, “I could tell people what that looks like” and chose a path in training.

This was and has been our mainstay for many years. Even with the advent of social technologies via the interwebs, we’re in a place of information delivery, but via digital methods. Online facilitation via a webinar or an online class is still facilitation.

The challenge that has always been before us is how to make that information delivery be more than just information. How can I make it useful? How can I make it meaningful to the user? What method of delivery would help explore the topic? Is there a best method of delivery?

Social technologies haven’t made the delivery of L&D any more exciting than it ever has been. MBTI hasn’t made understanding people an exciting affair. Neuroscience hasn’t made the theory of learning any more practical. It’s always been about the delivery.

And when thats great, that’s when we in L&D know a great job has been done. By the learners. By the design of the programme. By the sponsors. By the resources. By the performance improvement.

That leap, from information delivery to creative delivery is a big one. It happens all the time, and sometimes lands well and sometimes lands really badly.

Just some thoughts for you to ponder on.


Published by

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.

2 thoughts on “The Creative Challenge of L&D”

  1. Hi Sukh.
    Thank you for this post.
    I think there are three factors at play in L&D. These are information, knowledge and intelligent insight. One does not necessarily follow from the other. In the information age we have an exponentially increasing amount of information just a click away. This does not mean we have any better insight and we often need someone to decipher it for us to see the knowledge it can bring uncloaked.
    Design of L&D can be creative irrespective of whether it is information or insight we are seeking to deliver. What tends to happen is that the information piece is regarded as less “sexy” so we don’t expend as much energy on the creativity as we might if we are more concerned with insight. In compliance-heavy industries this has the undesirable effect of the adoption of a cookie cutter approach to learning. Similarly, the introduction of targets into mainstream education have reduced much of teaching to essentially a box-ticking exercise.

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