Rebrand learning and development? I know what you’re thinking - it sounds a little dramatic. But, I can’t help but think that learning and development, in general, is currently suffering from a mild form of identity crisis. Learning is moving at a fast pace and organisations of all shapes and sizes are seeing a shift in the way people want to access it. L&D departments have lots to do to modernise their offering and still show value in what they bring to the overall business strategy.
It is certainly true that companies are gradually moving away from the traditional approaches of classroom courses and even formal eLearning programmes as the sole vehicle of learning. Instead, they are opting to curate content from the abundance of free resources available on the web, using existing in-house materials, provide shorter “micro learning” assets as well as integrating social learning into their working environment. So does this mean an end to the classroom and formal eLearning? The short answer is No.
It’s hard to ignore the hype around “modernising” learning. In years gone by the classroom was one of the key enablers to improving employee or business performance. Then along came eLearning, with companies opting to use a mix of classroom and eLearning in their programmes and blending these together in a pre and post course way (we refer to it here as a classroom sandwich).
Whilst the hype is helping shine a light on how L&D will look in the not too distant future, there are some companies that are already doing it very well. However, it’s worth remembering that every organisation is different, so whatever learning is delivered, in whatever format, it needs to be fit for purpose based on the culture, learners, technology available and budget.
Remember the business
But what about business-centric/company directed training? Implementing a modern learning strategy is by no means without its challenges. Whilst learners need to be encouraged to take ownership of their learning and have the ability to access learning resources at the time of need, businesses still need to be able to plan and deliver business centric learning programmes that take into account the bigger picture and not just what individual learners need. In addition to this, L&D departments need to have the right skills to be able to curate learning and even more-so to facilitate social collaboration. They also need to have the budget and management buy-in that fully supports the learning strategy. And, importantly, the right technology platforms need to be invested in to allow a single point of access to informal and formal learning materials and courses.
Ultimately, there needs to be a sensible balance between encouraging and facilitating a learner centric and self-directed culture of learning, and providing formal business directed learning programmes that are specifically aligned to the organisational goals.
So whilst the idea of completely rebranding L&D may be a bit on the extreme side, Learning and Development professionals need to find new ways to demonstrate their value and relevance to the business and how they can genuinely provide the right performance support using a blend of strategies, methods and techniques.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed, but it’s important to keep an open mind and carefully think about the best route to aid your businesses performance through the development of your people.
If you are looking to develop a blended learning strategy, download our short guide on the six steps to creating highly successful blending.
Stuart Ford, Learning Solutions Sales Consultant, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I will talk through my thoughts on some of the key challenges facing Learning and Development professionals, along with useful tips and advice.
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