Friday, April 26, 2013

The future of the Learning and Development profession

This is the question I frequently post to fellow L&D practitioners, whether that be online, at events or in my own team. It's a valuable question that contains a subtle assumption: that the profession will change and it does have a future, however it seems that the need for change is becoming urgent, as the pace of social media as well as individual empowerment and capabilities is hot on the heels of the greater global changes happening around us.

So what does this future look like? The Centre for Creative Leadership, through another thought-provoking newsletter, discovered that the role of "learning and development professionals within organisations will remain crucial. But those roles are likely to change significantly to focus on creating new structures and processes for development — so that people have access to the options and opportunities that matter most to them." Nick Petrie spent a year at Harvard talking to experts about what they see as needing to change, and the resounding response was to stop sending people on courses they don't want to go to. This sentiment goes to the heart of the 70.20.10 learning model, which states that 70% of our learning comes from 'on-the-job' or experiential learning, 20% from coaching, mentoring and feedback, with only 10% of our learning coming from formal, classroom-based programs. 

My fellow L&D practitioners agree that the future of how learning is conducted is squarely in the hands of individuals, who need to be educated and supported in taking responsibility for their own development. However, as Petrie discovered, "many people still have the sense that it is someone else's job to tell me what I need to get better at and how to do it."

Alongside this change to how people learn, the learning and development profession will undoubtedly involve building and maintaining systems and structures that support peoples' learning experiences. The question for our profession becomes:

How can we ignite the power of curiosity-driven, self-directed learning?

What do you think? How will people learn in the future? What is our role in this - to support? Connect? Facilitate? 


  1. Steph,

    Thanks for connecting on Twitter and for sharing my post on 'What is Social Learning?'. I'm working on some more posts on the future of training and how it will be impacted by social and informal learning so keen to have to join the conversation.


    1. Excellent to hear from you John! Thank you for leaving a comment. I'm still new to the blogging space and really appreciate the time you've taken to respond.

      I found your article very informative, hence the sharing. I look forward to connecting with you more. Are you in any Google+ circles? I can't seem to find one that is specific for learning in the workplace context...!