2016 – The Future of Learning and Development

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

The end of last year saw a number of articles and reports documenting the challenges for Learning and Development departments and the profession as a whole. Much has been made of the demise of classroom based courses that take place over a number of days and the required agility of L&D in this fast paced and technological age.

As we see more and more organisations moving away from the traditional methods of training to a more “self-service” style of learning, there are a number of considerations to be made before disregarding classroom style workshops as an option.

Here are our top tips to ensure L&D is doing what it needs to do, in order to make your business a success:

  1. Closely align the L&D strategy with the overall business strategy. Too often in the past there has been a gulf between the two, so no wonder questions get raised by senior executives to the effectiveness and viability of having an L&D presence.
  2. Carefully diagnose the learning need. Is it knowledge, skills or behaviour that needs to be addressed? If it is an issue of increasing the individual’s knowledge then self – directed learning whether by way of an e-learning module, TED talk, YouTube clip etc. can be a fantastic way of quickly addressing a learning need that needs a timely intervention.
  3. If it is skills or behaviour gaps that need to be addressed, then something else needs to happen; just watching a TED talk is not enough on it’s own to improve an individual’s leadership or influencing skills for example. This is where the L&D profession needs to become far more agile and versatile and offer a variety of routes to allow the individual to embed and refresh their skills. This may take the form of 1-1 coaching, Action Learning Sets and even (dare we say it) the classroom workshop. The key point is that no learning should sit on it’s own, it needs to be followed up, talked about, observed and measured. Otherwise organisations are just throwing their money down the drain!
  4. L&D is the responsibility of everyone within the organisation and not just the L&D department! While classroom style events are not the panacea to end all ills they can be extremely effective in encouraging sharing of ideas, diversity of thought and perspective and a safe place to try out new skills/behaviours; however, if these types of events are unsupported by the business, particularly the managers of those attending, the power of the learning is lost. Managers who actively engage with their people’s learning objectives pre-course and follow up post course both in the short, medium and long term, in our experience see the best results.
  5. You don’t have to spend loads of money to engage people in learning. You just have to think about your budget, spend wisely and consider a more blended approach, such as modular programmes, e-learning, TED talks, bite-size training, 1-1 coaching etc. At Change- Gear we utilise Social Media to keep in touch with our participants throughout a programme; particularly Facebook where we create private groups to post extra hints and tips, video clips, photographs, infographics and answer questions from the group. It’s quick and easy to do and you can create as many groups as you want.

We think there has never been such an exciting time to be part of the L&D profession! There are so many different ways to help people grow and develop; a recent industry report suggested that we will see the following changes within the next two years:

  • Communities of practice 78% (28% increase from last year);
  • Virtual classrooms 72% (27% increase);
  • Learning communities 72% (26% increase);
  • Competency management systems 60% (26% increase); and
  • Online evaluation of business impact 57% (up 25%).

(2015/2016 Industry Benchmark Report)

So here’s to a fantastic 2016 for Learning and Development but remember – “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” that workshop you were thinking about running may just be the answer!

To learn more about how we at Change Gear provide a blended learning approach to all that we do get in touch by calling us at 07710 039065 or contacting us at hello@change-gear.com

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