• L&D failing to keep up with rapidly changing nature of work

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  • 10 May 2016
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Lack of digital skills and move to social learning prompt trainers to rethink their role inside organisations, finds study

L&D professionals have been urged to take control of their own personal development, as research reveals that just 36 per cent have a plan for how they will meet agreed business metrics in future.

While 86 per cent of L&D professionals are keen to improve business performance, 50 per cent of leaders feel L&D staff lack the required technological expertise for the digitalised future of work, and just 23 per cent of L&D leaders think their teams have the right skills to exploit technology for business advantage.

According to the joint report from benchmarking company Towards Maturity and the CIPD, only 28 per cent of L&D professionals keep up to date with the latest research into learning theory, while just 30 per cent are proactive in understanding how learners currently consume information and what they need for their job.

The report suggests that expectations and demands on L&D have increased rapidly in the last few years, and professionals are struggling to keep up with employee expectations and new delivery methods.

L&D practitioners will have to adapt as learning content moves further into the hands of employees via social learning tools, the report said. This means moving away from being purely ‘training providers’ to becoming ‘performance consultants’.

The report indicates that many organisations are recognising the important function L&D will play in the future of work, with 36 per cent of employers predicting their training budgets will increase in the next two years, and 31 per cent expecting the size of their training teams to grow by 2018.

However, according to the survey of more than 600 learning leaders, 1,800 learners and 170 L&D professionals and members of the CIPD’s Leaders in Learning Network, it’ll be up to L&D to manage their own skills development, with very few employers investing in the professionalisation of their L&D teams.

A quarter (26 per cent) of respondents expect L&D staff to keep their skills updated on their own, while only 54 per cent of organisations provide formal continual professional development support for their L&D professionals.

Laura Overton, chief executive of Towards Maturity, said: “L&D teams must develop new mindsets and skills – quickly. Advocating for learners, while not staying up to speed with how staff are learning for themselves, or the latest developments in learning, may set L&D apart from how the business works and what it requires to succeed in the future.”

L&D professionals have the potential to become influencers and challengers in the organisation, said Andy Lancaster, head of learning and development content at the CIPD. This means moving away from formal learning – be it face to face or e-learning – to building organisational learning capability and enhancing workplace skills.

“The world of work is changing and organisations are increasingly looking for more modern approaches to learning that support the fast-moving world of work and the needs of an increasingly digital workforce,” said Lancaster.

“The expectation on the L&D function is therefore high, and L&D professionals need to ensure that they are as agile as the organisations they operate in.”

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Comments (3)
  • Hi Stuart,

    Happy to pass on some names - could you send me an email? grace.lewis@haymarket.com

    Thanks

    Grace

  • Hi Grace,  I am contributing to a book on "what the research says" about education technology and would like to draw on some of the findings from this report.  Is there someone I could speak to about it further at CIPD? I am a CIPD member.  Regards Stuart

  • Good article Grace, and certainly noticeable within Further Education and gradually Higher Education. There are so many tools that can now be applied and used collectively or independently and of course provide real-time responses to those you are training.