It is human nature to sit in our comfort zone and repeat yesterday’s success. Add to that a sense of personal control, whether justified or not, and you have the ingredients for a very powerful inhibitor of change needed for future-proofing L&D.
Since I have worked in academia and the education sector for more than two decades, I am convinced that the comfort zones of L&D professionals are based on adult learning theories, waterfall planning cycles, static system architecture and training infrastructure, as well as the way L&D thinks and talks about itself.
Nuanced discussions regarding ‘training needs analyses’ and ‘evaluation models’ are important; however, they cannot provide the impetus for deeper, paradigm-shifting changes that L&D functions will need to support organisations in the upcoming years and decades. Environmental shifts impact organisations at an ever-faster pace and larger scale, and keeping people upskilled is pivotal.
Keeping people upskilled is pivotal.
To drive new actions and to future-proof L&D, we need new language and new conversations, and here are the most pressing ones:
Five ways to future-proof L&D
- LET’S TALK ABOUT CURATING, NOT DESIGNING LEARNING
It is not necessary for all learning to be designed within the framework of a course or module. Find titbits in real-life business as usual and turn them into learning bites. Provide intelligent social learning platforms that allow users to find these valuable nuggets of user-generated content.
- LET’S PRIORITISE FACILITATION OVER PROVIDING LEARNING ARTEFACTS
Yes, it is difficult to give up orderly planning cycles to determine when and how training should be provided. Be open to the chaos of listening to – and analysing heatmaps of – user-generated learning conversations. Make note of topics that create controversy and mark them for further analysis.
- LET’S EMPOWER, NOT PRESCRIBE HOW TO LEARN
Harness the adage that teaching is the best way to learn. Ask your employees to create their own learning materials, wherever possible and safe given the work environment. Licensing fees for intelligent authoring tools that can handle SCORM as well as xAPI and LRS have changed immensely, so there are no more excuses to not equip more of your people with access.
- LET’S DRIVE, NOT LAG BEHIND
Utilise real-time data analytics to swiftly pivot if learning outcomes fail to achieve the desired business impact. Drive value by reacting quickly and within the same cohort.
- LET’S BECOME DYNAMIC AND SHORT, NOT STATIC AND LONG
Integrate continuous improvement micro- steps throughout the entire learning curation, creation, and evaluation process using agile methods.
It is essential for all of us in the L&D profession to remain on our toes at all times, making leaps of faith to create change. It may be difficult at first to train those new muscles, but as an industry, we will gain a great deal of strength, innovation and endurance.
This article originally appeared in Training & Development magazine, September 2022 Vol. 49 No. 3, published by the Australian Institute of Training and Development.