It’s Happening… — 14 Comments

  1. Great post, Tom.

    L&D is changing but I don’t believe it ‘dead’, just evolving (significantly, mind you). Biz leaders I speak with are looking for more from their L&D, but not in the traditional context.

    With generational progression (more than in the past and Gen Z conditioned to learn on mobile devices – read the Forbes article: ‘Generation Z: 10 Stats From SXSW You Need To Know’ and technology (r)evolution (VR, YouTube, etc) L&D will need to/must rethink its place and how it moves forward.

    I hope you don’t mind, I may be writing my perceptions of what you say here and Ms. Hart’s position.

    Thanks for the stimulating post, Tom.


  2. Really great post Tom. I agree that teams outside of L&D will create their own content, that will outweigh existing training teams content. Normal because the learning population so to speak outnumbers any learning team. I’m not sure they will create communities and start social learning and collaboration by default, I think they will mimic training teams and create job aids and training modules to begin their journeys and ensure that things are still under control, and then eventually will realize that it’s hard to keep up with the pace of change, and or remain as organized and swift as training teams and designers. Eventually after some trial and error, I see them start to move the worlds of informal and social learning naturally. But this transition is a long one because many are used to having training teams create customized content, in other words extremely dependent and not autonomous enough to thrive in online communities. But it’s coming and so is the L& D evolution.

  3. Keeping pace with the change is a lofty goal. I prefer to roll with the changes and look for ways to add value in the new context. Sometimes it takes effort and other times it’s easier to just jump in and volunteer to help, learning as I go.

    I don’t think communities per se will emerge, but rather collaborative projects are the catalyst (at least in my org). Ironically, perhaps, the L&D function crosses the entire organization so can be the cause for that collaboration and lead the org.

    Thanks for the comment, Ralph!

  4. I agree Tom – I too have written a piece for Training Journal in the UK emphasising the importance of video (August Issue). The big sleeper in my view for L&D is video – been able to embrace it and use it will be vital for L&D – especially as we need to move beyond the (comfortable) chalk and talk phase that L&D continues to live in.

    As you know I am big advocate of L&D’s need to evolve and embrace new skills. Video is just one of them.

    Great post.

    • While I agree, to me it’s not video per se, but rather the combined ability for average non-L+D folk to create “good enough” content combined with the relatively new mechanism for sharing that across organizations, many of which are unable to use public options (even with private channels) such as YouTube. L+D can certainly create video content, and I do more than my share – but I am also facilitating the transfer of that knowledge of how to make “good enough” video to others. That will grow the library and utility of the medium in organizations by orders of magnitude – even if it does dwarf what
      s produced by L+D. Our role should be performance consulting, and that’s what I see this as doing to some extent.

  5. I agree that educational technology and changing attitudes to workplace learning are impacting the L&D department, but in a good way. I see the obsolescence of our role in workplace learning as the obsolescence of the *wrong* role; that is, as the stand-in SME.

    Indeed, technologies such as video are usurping that model, allowing the real SMEs in the business to develop their own content. About time, I say.

    So what does that mean for L&D pro’s? Well, we are the L&D SME’s. I see our role as supporting learning across the organisation, which was what it should have been all along!

    • Well said, Ryan! The “catch” is many (present company excluded) think our role as something different. I am completely on-board with your thinking and actively helping others learn to produce valuable content. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Just like in education, all too often the L&D expert ends up in the way of learning… the role of L&D shouldn’t be to ‘control’ learning any more than IT departments control computing – they should be enablers and advisors but also able to learn and share or at least provide the environment for that to happen :)

  7. Interesting analogy, Nigel. IT also has a responsibility to assure protection of the corporate infrastructure, so they have a role in controlling computing that’s almost undeniable. L&D has no such lynchpin role in the org so the role is really more influential. Losing sight of this may be the demise of the function.

  8. I agree with you Tom. In part. The reason most L&D departments are losing relevance is because the training they create is just plain bad. I wanted to say it mostly sucks, but … OK, most training I see sucks. There I said it. Not ours, of course. We all make great training. Always. ;-) Sometimes when I take a new project, I just hold my nose and take the money (as in the old show business saying…”take the money”).Not everything we do is going to have Star Wars success, creativity and (especially) budget.

    What I disagree with is ‘everyone can produce video’, which is, at its core, not true, although it might appear so on the surface. Everyone can take video. All of us now carry a video ‘studio’ in our pocket. There’s no disputing that. But not everyone can MAKE (produce) real video. Yes, a YouTube video can show something…frequently not well…but it’s not the same as producing video with intent. That takes skill that’s learned. When to use a certain lens or light a certain way. When do you need to get really close to the talent or the subject? Or get great sound? The language of sound and vision. All these things add up to a learning experience that can be stellar…or sewer. It depends on too much.Even those who can ‘make video’ aren’t successful all the time. Video is complex media.

    L&D departments DO have to change. They’ll have to change fast too. The quality bar need to move up for training video and it needs to move up yesterday. This comes through an understanding of affordance and media. I’m seeing the awareness of affordance and midia in several organizations I know. They know it and are doing their best to move into the 21st century. Sometimes it’s just not easy for a hidebound training leader. So the real question is what do they do before becoming obsolete.

    Takin’ ain’t makin’! It’s really complex.

  9. Be careful not to under estimate the science that goes into learning. The goal is not training. It is retention and recall. The way a video is constructed has a significant impact on this goal. Like most professions, L&D has some really qualified individuals, just not enough. I think the poor responsiveness observations others here have pointed out is impacted by the organizational structure when L&D reports under HR. They can serve the company more then they serve the customer.

    There are 4 critical elements that impact effective behavioural change (the motive of learning): brain biology, human behaviour, intrinsic motivation and creation of new habits.

    Look at the example of software or technology usage. According to a few major technology manufacturers, statistically 20% of employees know and use the key features of a product, 40% don’t know or use them and the rest are somewhere in between. Clearly not a successful L&D outcome!
    John Breakey

  10. Pingback:Death to Learning & Development! Fact or Fiction? | chat2lrn

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