Learning and development in the workplace is evolving towards practical tasks and knowledge-sharing experience including job shadowing, social learning, according to new research from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.

The survey of L&D professionals highlights that practitioners who provide versatile training with the aim of supporting long-term, sustainable business growth, will be of the most value to staff and the wider business.

Ruth Stuart, research adviser for L&D at the CIPD, said:

“Learning and development is continually affected by external factors and the wider organisation, particularly as systems become smarter, more tools and techniques constantly come to the fore and resources ebb and flow. L&D teams face a stimulating and challenging future in meeting organisational and learner requirements in fast-paced and busy environments.

“This year’s L&D survey shows companies becoming much more hands-on in the development of their staff and it’s up to L&D professionals to facilitate different ways of sharing knowledge throughout the organisation in order to achieve long-term sustainable change. Collaboration and versatility are key to this – L&D teams need to keep an eye on the future, and understand the evolving landscape whilst continuing to build the professional competencies needed today to drive and sustain organisational success.”

Two thirds (65%) of the survey’s respondents feel that the method of learning most likely to grow over the next two years is coaching from line managers and peers and over half (53%) also expect to see the use of in-house programmes increase.

On-the-job training (48%) and internal knowledge sharing events (46%) are also projected to become more prevalent.

Ruth Stuart believes these findings imply growing effort and focus on creating a learning culture within the workplace. She said:

“These figures show us that one size definitely doesn’t fit all, and it depends entirely on the needs of the individual organisations, their workforce profile and their resources as to which L&D initiatives work best. However, regardless of size, sector, access to resources or growth prospects, organisations need to make sure their investments in L&D are the right ones and that activity is directed towards improving organisational performance.”