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Blog: Rethinking the role of L&D (learning and development)

In today’s modern world, there is an increasing demand to be more business aligned. Historically, training departments would define what they think the key agenda to be and analyse this, usually without hard data, in order to focus on what exactly what the key learning focus of the organisation should be but the role of learning and development (L&D) departments are changing.

A shift in roles

The corporate workforce is seeing a much bigger trend towards learning and development professionals heading in the direction of a performance consultant type role.

These type of L&D roles are becoming increasingly multifarious, requiring a balanced blend of skills and aptitude. This requires a huge shift in their thinking and what this means in relation to measuring the value of learning in their business. They are expected to be able to not only diagnose problems, but determine the right solutions.

This change is underpinned by the need for learning and development roles to possess a concrete business impact and continually add value to the wider organisation. In some instances, this could mean suggesting a non-L&D solution to an issue.

Role capabilities

It may seem obvious but in order for L&D professionals to take on more performance consulting roles, they need to be looking at key skills gaps with a view to build capability closer to home.

Ruth Stuart, a Research Adviser at CIPD points out that whilst is is a necessity to develop other learners, it’s also vital for their own learning requirements to be assessed.

If L&D is to truly impact the business, then it is of the utmost importance to address key gaps in their own skills and capabilities.

CIPD research suggests that business and commercial understanding, technological and analytical capability, as well as content curation are all critical skills that many are lacking.

The most forward-thinking learning and development teams are using a broad range of methods from development programmes to knowledge sharing through various systems.

Hemsley Fraser, have created a microsite, called The Vault, which showcases all of their best-in-class learning interventions, including digital work. Looking at how other businesses have maximised their worth from digital learning can help you to recreate your own successes.

Incorporating change

For L&D professionals to really look at ways to measure the value of learning in the business, analysing pre and post measurements of learning are both considered to be more and more important. Often, the challenge for learning professionals can be that they are great at measuring learning but only after it’s been delivered.

A trend is also being seen by way of accurately and effectively measuring return on investment (ROI) in training and performance improvement, with this being highly regarded as one of the most comprehensive methods. The reason for this is that it draws on a number of established theories and evaluation models, including Kirkpatrick’s learning evaluation model and Phillips’ ROI methodology, theories of change and the logical framework approach.

This model is about building a chain of impact in order to create a link between the specific learning or training activity and the ROI.

As People Management Magazine point out, change is the only constant in L&D. Let us help you to manage this change by getting in touch today.

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