Could 2010 be the year that L&D takes control? Or will it be the year that learning and development suffers budget cut backs and learner indifference as employees turn to their own informal learning to solve knowledge and skills issues?

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Good questions, Don...

L&D will only take control if they get themselves out of the mindset that the answer to every problem is a course.

My hope for 2010 is that L&D will focus on changing the management and learning culture of their organisation by developing two things:

  1. Employees' ability and confidence to learn for themselves. Much of what we provide as courses is freely available on the web at the point of need. Learning how to find, filter and use those resources is a transferable skill that will save money across the organisation.
  2. Managers' ability to coach their employees. It's up to the managers to identify performance gaps and work with employees to develop them. They should not need to devolve every problem to L&D.

One day, perhaps...

Having learners take control of their own learning must be a good thing. The role of L & D is to ensure that learning opportunities in all forms is made accessible to the learners, and to help them with coaching / guidance as and when required.

Use of social networking, online interactive learning (Webex and the like) and supported on the job learning are key to this. I'm also looking at the moment to sign up with CMI to give team leaders and managers across the business access to a wealth of information for study support or just plain 'how do I...' situations.

It's a lot more effort to keep records and learning plans up to date but if you start from the mindset that EVERYTHING is a learning opportunity - then bring it on. Formal training does have it's place, but with the scarest resource being time in these lean times, and the attention span of the average learner - myself included - shrinking under the pressure of increasng email and other communications, it is becoming less and less viable. It is often also far less effective.

Have a very good Christmas and New Year!
Hi Cathy,

I agree that keeping records and learning plans up-to-date is much more of an issue. Up to know that's been seen to be a central responsibility (which is why we now have LMS's). In the new world, we need to create a situation where it's in the learners best interests to keep their own records and plans up-to-date (perhaps using a learning journal/blog sort of thing).

This will only work for most learners if there's an external motivating factor, such as professional accreditation, qualifications, promotion, better prospects, pay, time off etc.


The prevailing economic climate will continue to put immense pressure on all organisations, public and private. There is therefore a real opportunity to address more radical change in the way we communicate, learn and educate. In many ways we no longer have much choice. By putting technology at the heart of what we do we can begin to design work (and educational) environments that embed learning opportunities at every step - ubiquitious performance support (UPS) as I like to call it. It puts learning much closer to action. Which makes it more memorable and valuable to both the individual and the organisation. Technology makes it possible to move from a KnowHow culture to KnowNow where access to knowledge and skills (both your own and others) are almost immediate and economically viable.

While technology is the essential glue to our future, the actual components of the learning and educational process need reconfiguring. My fear is that the worlds of training and education continue to resist, or just dabble around the edges. It seems, like with the climate change, vested interests mean we prefer to re-arrange the chairs on the deck of our Titanic in the hope the iceberg will have melted before we hit it.

The next generation will not tolerate traditional modes of learning any more. They will vote with their feet, or should I more accurately say, mobile phones. The next decade is our opportunity to facilitate rather then resist this change. This community is on the front line and I remain positive that 2010 will be a pivotal year.

I think there are hopeful prospects for 2010. I have noticed that, in this recession, organisations have sustained learning/training activities much more than in previous recessions. Lessons have been learned perhaps!

That said, the efforts of those in Learning and Development will count for nothing unless they achieve 2 things: link learning closely to organisational objectives and keep it cost-effective. Technology will play a big part in achieving both.

Of course, neither of these things are new but 2010 may be the year to redouble efforts in achieving them.

Have a good Christmas and all the best for 2010!

Interesting question and actually quite tricky to answer - perhaps that comes from having stared out at nothing but white and grey for so long. I need to find some colour to re-energise!

As a learning and development community, we seem well able now to recognise the need to be more innovative, rapid, creative and social but I want to know where the new learners are that I hear about. I'm not seeing enough - and age doesn't seem to be a determining or distinguishing factor - of people demanding for things to be delivered differently or willingness to learn more flexibly. The traditional course still seems to have an incredible hold in terms of it being the way to validate the experience. And I don't see many organisations opening themselves up to social, extended or informal work-based learning, except for niche projects. If you are out there - let me know how you are genuinely embedding change.

So perhaps the challenge for 2010 is to become a better marketeer, sales person and promoter. To get under the skin of learners, senior managers and irritate the organisational core. To focus on change where this can lead to improved productivity, performance and efficiency but keep it entertaining, relevant, personal and pervasive. So I should manage that in a couple of months?

Someone mentioned iceberg, I'd quite like to avoid those if I can.
Interesting question.

I don't think L&D will take control. I don't think it SHOULD take control. It should be the energiser maybe but it should never drive (nicely mixing metaphors in the New Year).

What I think will happen is more of the same. Budgets won't shrink but they won't grow much either. Users will get some of what they want but they'll also use their own networks (how is that bad btw?). Social networks will continue to grow but we'll struggle to use them for learning corporately. We'll talk about it a lot though :). Do I sound like a Puddleglum?

Happy New Year!
My main hope for 2010 is that there is a recognition of the fact that L&D needs the support of the IT department more than ever (I'm thinking of social media, content management, collaboration, informal learning, performance management, shared services, dashboards etc. here); making these a success won't happen unless the IT dept. gives its full support.

My first fear is that IT will be so focused on other issues that they won't have the traction to support these L&D initiatives. And my second fear is that, as a consequence, people will rush into cloud computing/ external hosting solutions that will be found to be not up for the job!

This is the year that the combination of IT and L&D can really make a difference - but vision and engagement models will be a real challenge
Take control of what? It's no longer about control. L&D have been control freaks for years in that they want to control learners in courses in classrooms. Sometimes they even let us learners have breakout groups, which is a bit like a jailer allowing an hours exercise round the yard. By holding on to this model they've marginalised themselves. Learners are far from indifferent. They've taken to technology big time. Just look at the stats for internet access, email, blogs and social media. Training is now the dullest, most backward-looking, luddite, fixed, unreflective department in organisations. They're being reduced to the level of canteen staff, dolling our standard meals at a fixed time from fixed menus.
I believe "take control" can be better expressed as "have real influence". You could ask "influence on what" and my answer to that would be "influence over the skills gain within an organisation within any defined period".

To do that, they have to make a real impact on informal learning - and if they can do that they're far from luddites!



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