Jane Hart (one of my ITA colleagues) has laid out a proposal for the new services of the L&D department, and I think it resonates nicely with some thinking I’ve been having. The point is that L&D has to shift, but the question is: “to where?”
So Jane posits 3 services:
- Content production: designing and delivering courses and resources
- Learning Concierge: address ad hoc or ongoing learning or performance problems
- Connected Workplace: supporting continuous learning and performance improvement through knowledge sharing and collaboration
The first is most of what the L&D group does now, and overuses. And the focus really is on courses, though sometimes resources are developed. The latter two, however, are real opportunities.
Increasingly, we can’t anticipate the unique needs our learners will have, and what we have to move towards supporting them ‘at will’. It may be a pointer to a resource such as a book or person or video as opposed to designing a course. We increasingly need to serve as curators.
Similarly, we need to serve as facilitators, helping people learn how to self-help by working ‘out loud’ when we find ways to help them, so they can start self-helping. We can and should be facilitating conversations, helping those who are having trouble being effective in communicating, and more.
As I suggested earlier, social learning may often be our first recourse (not off our radar), and performance support second. If formal learning is (or should be) expensive, it should only be used when we need a significant skill shift. Yes, there are times that it’ll be needed (e.g. unskilled employees, highly regulated performances), but we need to have a much richer suite of support possibilities, and start more accurately targeting the assistance to the need (and measuring the impact).
Our goal should be to have a business impact, and a one-trick pony isn’t going to meet the rich complexity and rate of change we’re increasingly going to face. So, as Jane concludes: “how ready are you to provide these new services?”