Change is the only constant in L&D

But navigating the shifting digital landscape doesn’t have to be difficult, writes Matt Johnson

I’m sure professionals in every sector would say theirs has been, and continues to be, transformed by advances in technology. Learning and development is no exception. The way we consume information, interact with colleagues and access learning is driven by smartphones, virtual reality and the internet.

For L&D professionals, that’s a good thing – right? Plenty of new, shiny and innovative ways to deliver engaging learning. But new opportunities bring new challenges, and those delivering L&D need to keep up to speed with changes in technology to remain effective.

Game-based learning, virtual reality, interactive videos and social learning are all the rage in L&D. Techniques pinched from console games, social media channels and even cinema find their way into our solutions, because, if that’s what the modern learner is familiar with, workplace learning has to keep up.

L&D budgets are only now starting to recover from post-recession austerity, but competing with games, YouTube and slick apps sounds a bit pricey, doesn’t it? Sometimes it feels like you have to invest in everything to provide a comprehensive learning programme and to keep up with the latest ‘fad’.

It’s no surprise that our recent Learning Insights report revealed that L&D professionals feel overwhelmed by choice and the pace of change. Unless you have unlimited time and budget, you can’t do it all. So take the time to consider what’s going to work best for your business and follow these tips to ensure you stand the best chance of success.

  1. Start with the end

Before making any decisions, work out your end goals. Think about your organisation’s training needs and overall objectives. Work with senior leaders and line managers around the business to find out what will add value and help them achieve their goals. Then, measure and report on your outcomes. Demonstrate that your investments have been worthwhile. Congratulations: you are no longer an L&D professional, but a valued commercial partner who delivers business outcomes.

  1. Test it out

You may not find the right solution right away, and that’s ok. Dip your toe in the water by testing new things on a small scale. Trials are a way to figure out what works and why – or why not. As long as you’re measuring and you know what you’re aiming for, you can make a call on whether the trial was successful.

  1. Be prepared

As an L&D professional, consider how you’ll update your own skills. You can take part in pilot schemes to familiarise yourself with new technologies and understand how they can help you deliver learning. Give yourself time to explore, learn and play with technology, so that you are better equipped to make decisions about new solutions.

Navigating the digital blizzard

Yes, there’s an ever-increasing choice of ways to deliver learning and that can seem overwhelming, but the underlying pedagogy remains the same. A great learning experience is still a great learning experience, no matter how it’s delivered. And L&D must still align with your organisation’s needs.

There’s no need to invest in everything or try to keep up with the next big thing, because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Find what’s right to deliver the results you’re looking for. Once you discover your ‘true north’, stick to it and you’ll find that coping with change will become a breeze.


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