The State of L&D

It was good fun chairing at the Learning Technologies and Skills Conference last week. When you have good speakers, chairing is fun. Thanks to Andrew Jacobs, Garry Hearn and David Gelles for doing a good job of sharing your thoughts and your chosen topics.

I’ve been thinking about what I was listening to, and also of other events I’ve been at in recent months. And I’ve been attuned to what’s happening in different conversations online. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of people willing to express their opinion.

It seems to me there are some common things L&D as a profession is agreeing on and they get talked about in different ways.

We need to be aligned to the business. More and more I’m hearing about how to do this well and how in doing so we present our value to the powers that be. When we understand how to do this, are business partnering effectively, and are being consultative in our approach is when we get it right. That means we deliver better learning solutions, we develop our knowledge and we develop our skills.

The importance of technology enabled learning is really coming to the fore. Vendors and the likes are getting really smart at how to provide technology based learning solutions. There’s no shortage of them for sure and there’s no stopping the creative thinking going into them. These days that could be e-learning content, video learning, podcasts, e-books and a whole lot more. It’s there, readily available – and if you’re brave enough you can do it all yourself.

The concept of 70:20:10 as a useful framework for developing a blend of learning solutions is really coming into its own. A lot of practitioners are considering not just producing face to face sessions or just e-learning courseware, but increasingly how to include work based learning solutions through peer based models of learning. That’s pretty exciting and means we help people be their best through learning in ways that make sense to them.

The use of social technologies as practitioners is becoming more important. Too many times do we see and hear about professionals shunning social media and too many times do we end up trying to convince others. These things have a natural penetration point. People aren’t on social media? Fine. They’ll get there eventually. In the meantime just get on and enjoy your time and experience of being there.

On that same point, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the concept of IP in learning is becoming increasingly difficult to hold on to. Developed a learning solution that’s awesome? Fab. Make as much money as you can from it cos soon enough someone will develop something better. Collaboration is the currency of the future. That’s when awesome things happen.

I also see more people understanding the importance of concepts like emotional intelligence and mindfulness as a way of developing their self awareness and understanding of how they impact others. That’s only good stuff and it’s really encouraging how people are talking about these things.

Some things I’d like to see less of?

Vendors selling their kit. Find partners to collaborate with, build effective communication strategies and a reason for people to talk about you.

The peddling of solutions which are rubbish. I moved my e-learning provider because they just weren’t delivering value for money. They had a solution which was pants and I had to cut them off and find a better provider. (I did)

We’re still not seeing enough people tackle issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In a world where multiculturalism and flexible working are fast becoming the norm, we need to work harder at the opportunities people are afforded, the way we seek to include them and the fairness people experience.

I want to personally see less Big Brother on the telly box, but you know, that’s me.

I’d like to see less reliance on the need for models to explain theories. Yes, I’ve used them and continue to do so too, but also I want L&Ders learn more about dialogic processes. How do we cultivate generative thinking? That’s hard and at the same time much needed.

I really want practitioners to let go of outdated thinking like the Mehrabian myth, learning styles and investigate better what we know about things like body language and how adults learn.

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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.

3 thoughts on “The State of L&D”

  1. Thanks for your reflections Sukh and the challenge you set is admirable. What I am very interested in is hearing more on the alignment to business and demonstrating value. Although I was actively following the back channel I must say that I was disappointed in the tweets and videos as I did not hear/read much on this. There was some sporadic mentions of these concepts here and there but none that I could see going into some detail on the why and how. Like I said I was not present, so my observation is from a back channel perspective.

  2. Thank you for these reflections, Sukh and for bringing together this picture of where we are & what is being discussed in L&D. I wasn’t at the event, so I would be particularly interested on your thoughts about the issue of whether as a profession we are still very focused on ‘learning’ or are starting to focus more on ‘performance’ and whether this was discussed much?

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