L&D teams must redefine their role to resolve a growing tension between how individuals want to approach learning and how organisations want to deploy it, according to a new white paper from Hemsley Fraser, the learning and development company.
‘Learning is Changing’ highlights the fundamental changes that have occurred in the design, implementation, commissioning and sponsoring of organisational learning. It examines the impact of the changing nature of learning on individual learners, L&D teams, procurement officers and IT departments, and details the implications for business leaders and organisations.
According to the paper, learning has become more immediate, more experiential and more ‘social’ over the past ten years. It is now shaped by the learner, accessed in shorter blocks of time and more directly connected to work applications. The impact of technology not only means that learning is available ‘anytime, anywhere, on demand’, it also enables learners to connect and collaborate in online networks.
“The fact that learning is changing has important implications for organisations,” said Wendy Brooks, Director of Global Solutions at Hemsley Fraser and author of the new paper. “Learning has become a key catalyst for, and an enabler of, change. It should be seen as a Board-driven priority, as it is a major factor that can contribute to an organisation’s success. Leadership learning, in particular, is now an essential strategic imperative for organisations. The changing landscape of learning also means that new working practices are required for L&D, procurement and IT teams.”
According to the paper, L&D teams need to drive the vision for learning in organisations and develop the commercial and creative skills to assimilate and communicate the results.
“The changing expectations of learners have created a tension between how people want to learn and how organisations typically provide development,” said Wendy Brooks. “L&D teams should respond by exploring the new ways in which learning can be accessed and delivered. L&D must evolve to become an architect of orchestrated learning as well as a content curator who can enable easy access to the right content. In many cases, this will involve a significant shift in how the L&D function sees its own expertise.”
The paper recommends that IT departments need to adapt, to support access to information and knowledge sharing in organisations. It also argues that procurement teams need a new perspective of what they are trying to buy and why, when it comes to learning.
“The procurement of learning needs to move from standardised day rates to a more sophisticated understanding of the impact and value that is delivered through learning,” said Wendy Brooks. “Essentially, organisations need a more strategic approach to supply chain management when buying from learning providers.”
According to the paper, those organisations that understand and respond to the way that learning is changing will reap the benefits of improved employee engagement, talent management and retention as well as reduced recruitment costs.
“In today’s turbulent global economy, any organisation that wants to remain competitive, agile and differentiated must ensure that learning is kept front and centre of its activity,” said Wendy Brooks.