Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

22 September 2015

Biz tech

Clark @ 8:28 AM

One of my arguments for the L&D revolution is the role that L&D could be playing.  I believe that if L&D were truly enabling optimal execution as well as facilitating continual innovation (read: learning), then they’d be as critical to the organization as IT. And that made me think about how this role would differ.

To be sure, IT is critical.  In today’s business, we track our business, do our modeling, run operations, and more with IT.  There is plenty of vertical-specific software, from product design to transaction tracking, and of course more general business software such as document generation, financials, etc.  So how does L&D be as ubiquitous as other software?  Several ways.

First, formal learning software is really enterprise-wide.  Whether it’s simulations/scenarios/serious games, spaced learning delivered via mobile, or user-generated content (note: I’m deliberately avoiding the LMS and courses ;), these things should play a role in preparing the audience to optimally execute and being accessed by a large proportion of the audience.  And that’s not including our tools to develop same.

Similarly, our performance support solutions – portals housing job aids and context-sensitive support – should be broadly distributed.  Yes, IT may own the portals, but in most cases they are not to be trusted to do a user- and usage-centered solution.  L&D should be involved in ensuring that the solutions both articulate with and reflect the formal learning, and are organized by user need not business silo.

And of course the social network software – profiles and locators as well as communication and collaboration tools – should be under the purview of L&D. Again, IT may own them or maintain them, but the facilitation of their use, the understanding of the different roles and ensuring they’re being used efficiently, is a role for L&D.

My point here is that there is an enterprise-wide category of software, supporting learning in the big sense (including problem-solving, research, design, innovation), that should be under the oversight of L&D.  And this is the way in which L&D becomes more critical to the enterprise.  That it’s not just about taking people away from work and doing things to them before sending them back, but facilitating productive engagement and interaction throughout the workflow.  At least at the places where they’re stepping outside of the known solutions, and that is increasingly going to be the case.


  1. And, of course, let me add tracking and measuring what’s happening. Whether with xAPI (preferred) or home-brewed, L&D should be an advocate for evaluating what’s happening for tuning purposes. Also experimenting with new approaches (in partnership with IT).

    Comment by Clark — 22 September 2015 @ 9:10 AM

  2. Clark,

    Good points. As you’ve stated in the comment, measuring is a key element. The other thing is the mindset and skills of learning leaders. Mindset to take on “facilitating continuous innovation” and the skills to sell the solution to IT and executives. Adventurous L&D leaders are starting to do just this and more will follow in the wake of the Revolution (or get left behind).

    Comment by John — 22 September 2015 @ 11:59 AM

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