The case for the new role of a Modern Learning Advisor

“The biggest innovation in workplace learning will not come from new technology but from supporting people to learn continuously
and to manage their own learning.”
Jane Hart, 2017

In a number of previous articles in the MWL Magazine, I have explained how modern professionals now recognise that they learn in many different ways at, through and for work.

The standard approach of a L&D department is to design and deliver learning interventions to and manage employee learning CENTRALLY in some sort of learning platform,  e.g. a LMS to manage courses, or more recently in a Learning Experience platform to manage use of other types of content and interactions.

Standard roles for this L&D work include course designers, developers, trainers, and LMS administrators. However, whilst the work of these standard roles is currently being modernised: e.g. Instructional Designers have become i LX designers, and trainers have become facilitators, fundamentally their work is the same as it has always been – designing, delivering and managing learning.

But this standard approach  is no longer enough in the modern workplace, there is now need for a more modern approach of enabling and supporting learning, where individuals manage their own self-improvement and self-development.  This new approach requires a new role: a Modern Learning Advisor.

What is the rationale for this modern approach and new role? Here are 6 good reasons:

  1. L&D can’t create everything everyone needs to do their jobs. As it is, individuals are already doing things for themselves and by-passing L&D, so it is time to make a virtue of this fact, and encourage individuals to take responsibility for their own continuous self-improvement and self-development.
  2. It is no longer appropriate for L&D’s focus to be just about developing content, making sure that employees learn from it and tracking their every move, but rather it needs to be about helping them develop modern learning skills so that every employee can become self-reliant and self-sufficient, and make the most of, and learn from all kinds of experiences and opportunities.
  3. One size doesn’t fit all, even if it using the latest technology trend (whether it be video or VR)!  It’s more about helping individuals identify what they need to self-improve and/or self-development and how they might do this in the most appropriate format or way for them.
  4. L&D can’t possibly manage everything everyone learns centrally. As it is,  a lot of what people learn (naturally) happens without them even realising it, and in most cases, they don’t want to record things on an enterprise platform.  So what they need is to  to reflect on, record and manage their own learning and achievements themselves – using their (self-selected) tools so that they own their own learning – and in such a way that they can demonstrate their achievements to current or future employers.
  5. But in fact, taking a greater interest in employees as individuals – with individual needs and preferences – and helping them to prepare for their own futures, they are more likely to stay in the organisation than seek employment elsewhere.
  6. Furthermore, by taking on this new role, a L&D department moves from being a “course order-taking” unit, to providing a more relevant service for the modern workplace.

But it is not  either/or approach.  It’s NOT either the traditional approach or the modern approach. There is room for both approaches, particularly there will still be a need for the design and management of essential (e.g. compliance, and regulatory) training. However,  introducing the new work of a Modern Learning Advisor, will mean that there are many more opportunities to help individuals learn in the modern workplace.

Are you interested on taking on the role of a Modern Learning Advisor? If so, it requires a new mindset, new skills and new work from the standard L&D roles.

New mindset

The role of the Modern Learning Advisor is about building and supporting self-reliant and self-sufficient modern professionals who make the most of, and learn from all kinds of experiences and opportunities to self-improve and self-develop. It’s not about designing, delivering or managing learning for them.

New skills

The Modern Learning Advisor will need to be someone who can “walk the talk” and demonstrate what it means to be a modern professional learner (MPL).  He/she will

  • have established a habit of continuous learning,  and learn something new every day
  • make the most of (and learn from) everyday work experiences – through problem-solving, interactions with their own manager, and their own team
  • manage their own self-development
  • have grown their own professional network
  • continuously keep up to date with their industry or profession in many different ways

Want some help? Our 30 Day Learning Challenges are a good way to hone your skills in these areas.

New  work

The work of the Modern Learning Advisor will be to:

  • change mindsets, and prepare both individuals and managers for modern professional learning
  • help managers enable and support modern professional learning
  • help individuals acquire (or hone) modern skills for learning on the Web
  • help individuals make the most of, and learn from their daily work
  • help individuals manage their own professional development

Want some help with this? Our upcoming workshop, Supporting Continuous Independent Learning Workshop looks at these aspects of the work of the MLA. Furthermore,  participants on the Workshop will also become a member of our new Modern Learning Advisor Network where they will be able to support one another as they take on their roles in their organisations.

Who supports non-designed learning experiences?

In past articles I have showed that modern professionals learn from a multitude of sources.

and in a multitude ways

They learn

  • for today – to improve in their current jobs
  • for tomorrow – to prepare for future jobs

But the KEY point is that they learn from both

  • designed learning experiences (aka training and education) and
  • non-designed learning experiences – in fact 80%+ of how people learn happens in non-designed ways.

Most L&D efforts are focused on designed learning experiences. Instructional designers and content developers design and develop these experiences, trainers/facilitators help to deliver them, and others (try to) manage them in their learning platforms or LMS.

But who supports  the non-designed learning experiences? They clearly don’t need to be designed or developed. Nor do they need to be managed in a learning platform or LMS.  They simply need to be encouraged and enabled.

It seems that many (in L&D and elsewhere) are not interested in non-designed learning experiences – often believing  they are of little value compared to those that have been designed for people. Or if they are, they want employees to record their experiences  in their enterprise learning platform/LMS so they can manage them centrally –  an impossible task, as it happens, and also one that is not appropriate or relevant in today’s world.

Rather individuals (and their managers) need to be encouraged to value these experiences, and be enabled and supported to take responsibility and ownership for learning in these ways.  It therefore requires a completely new role to help do this. Enter the Modern Learning Advisor  – someone whose role and skills are very different from traditional L&D roles. So what does this role entail? I’ll be exploring this topic in future articles over the summer.

But in the meantime, if you haven’t  got anyone to take on this new role, and want to encourage, enable and support your people to get the most out of their non-designed learning experiences, then our 30 Day Learning Challenges might help.

Designing, delivering and managing modern learning experiences

In previous articles I have talked about how my ongoing Top 100 Tools for Learning survey shows how individuals are learning in new ways – particularly on the Web – using a wide range of tools, for example

  • by using Google and YouTube to solve their own learning and performance problems
  • by using social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to build their own professional network (aka personal learning network)
  • by using messaging apps on their smartphones like WhatsApp to connect with colleagues and groups
  • by using Twitter to participate in conference backchannels and live chats
  • by using Feedly to aggregate the blog posts and news feeds they subscribe to which provides them with a daily flow of information
  • by subscribing to services like Highbrow to provide them with a short daily lesson.
  • by participating in online courses (or MOOCs) on platforms like Coursera, edX and FutureLearn

What is clear about the way people learn on the Web is that is very different to the way they learn in traditional training, ie it

  • is on demand and continuous – rather than intermittent events
  • takes place in short bursts (minutes) – rather than long periods (hours, days, etc)
  • it mostly happens nowadays on mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) rather than on desktop machines
  • it is highly social  (interacting with people) – rather than just consuming content
  • it is a personal experience, selected by the individual concerned – rather than being a one-size-fits-all experience, designed by someone else (eg L&D)
  • it is autonomous (self-directed, self-organised and self-managed), in that the individual choses what, how and when he or she accesses, interacts and/ learns –  rather than one that has been directed by someone else (eg L&D), who (tries to) manage the individual’s learning for them.

In other articles here I have written about the new work of L&D that is about supporting modern professional learning, as I call it. But here I want to consider what it means for the design, delivery and management of organised and managed learning experiences –  because this will of course still be required.  In other words, what it means to modernise training. I believe there are 5 aspects to this and, in brief, it means

  1. Modernising classroom training experiences – so they become interactive and collaborative, technology-friendly events.
  2. Modernising online learning experiences – so that content is no longer about pressing the Next button to move to the next slide, but about creating content in more modern and appealing formats, and (where appropriate) guiding social learning experiences.
  3. Modernising assessment and learning management – so it is no longer about attendance, participation or completion – but about achieving performance outcomes using real-world methods and activities.
  4. Modernising learning support – so that participants are offered are range of different mechanisms that they can tap into to help them before, during and after the training.
  5. Modernising a blended programme – so that it provides a more flexible programme that allows the individual to be guided but not constrained to the resources and activities on offer.

This is just an overview of what it means to modernise training, if you would like to take part in a 6-week online workshop to find out more, to try out new tools and discuss the practicalities with others, click here to sign up to our SUMMER WORKSHOP: MODERNISING TRAINING running Monday 10 July – 18 August.  There are no synchronous activities, so the online workshop is suitable for any time-zone, and means if you have some holiday booked in that time you can easily catch up.

Jane’s Personal Top 10 Tools for Learning in 2017

My 2017 (11th annual) survey of Top tools for Learning is open for voting here, and there have already been a few hundred entries, so I thought I’d share  my personal top 10 tools for this year. If you’d like to share your own 10 favourite learning tools here, then please send them to me at and I’ll collate them into some follow-up articles.

TWITTER is still the place where I can quickly and easily keep up with what’s happening in the world – and in particular what others are up to with their ideas and activities   around workplace learning. But I do prefer to use TWEETDECK rather than the web interface – since it’s so easy to set up different columns for my news feed, mentions, hashtags I follow, etc. This makes it much easier for me to get the overall picture of what’s happening in the moment. It’s still  the first place I turn to in the morning.

I also couldn’t do without FEEDLY – my RSS reader – where I aggregate well over 300 blog and website feeds. So this as another way important way for me to keep up to date with new ideas and thinking in workplace technology, the future of work, and other related topics.

WORDPRESS is the platform I use for all my websites – Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, my blog, Centre for Modern Workplace Learning, the MWL Magazine and 30 Day Learning Challenges. WordPress is a very powerful web publishing too and I have my own WordPress installations which I enhance with the use of a large number of 3rd party plugins . I also make good use of PIXABAY’s image library.

I use YAMMER to host the online workshops I run, since, for me, it is all about facilitating and guiding a social learning experience.  And I also want to show the workshop participants how valuable a platform it can be to underpin both informal social learning as well as formal (guided) social learning in their own organisations.

I am now making increasing use of ZOOM for video meetings, as it is really good to be able to see so many people’s live videos in one place – rather than just a list of names in a webinar tool. Whilst WHATSAPP has become my key communication tool with individuals and groups.

Recently I have become attached to a new web browser, VIVALDI as I like a number of the features that make it stand out from other browsers. If you don’t know Vivaldi, take a look at 9 reasons to switch to Vivaldi browser today.

Finally, I’m still in love with my APPLE WATCH!  People often ask me what it is about it that I like so much, and I say it is not just one thing – it is all the little things that make it a very useful productivity tool for me – reminders, alerts, notifications and so on.


Modern Professional Learning: Guidelines & Resources

Modern Professional Learning:
Guidelines and Resources

to survive and thrive in the modern workplace

  1. Take responsibility for your own self-improvement, learning and development – it’s your career so you need to be in control of it. Intermittent training is no longer enough, you need to be continuously curious and finding things out.
  2. Spend some time reflecting on your daily work experiences – so that you can learn from your difficulties and challenges as well as your successes.
  3. Address your own performance problems – become self-reliant and learn to solve your own problems particularly by power-searching on the Web and validating your sources.
  4. Make the most of your manager – continuously ask for feedback on your current activities and help in moving forward in your work.
  5. Learn from your team members – ask them for help and to share their experiences – and share what you learn with them too.
  6. Make a point of learning something new every day – it doesn’t have to be work related and it certainly doesn’t have to involve study. Make the most that the Web has to offer.
  7. Keep up to date with what’s happening in your industry or profession – not just by attending an annual conference but continuously from daily knowledge flows that come from relevant curated resources. Connect the dots between random pieces of information, and avoid information overload.
  8. Build and maintain a diverse professional network – so that you have a collection of people around you who you value, and with whom you interact and  learn on an ongoing basis.
  9. Manage your own professional development  set your own professional goals, work on them in the right way for you, document your progress, and evidence your performance in a digital portfolio.
  10. Establish your own personal learning toolkit – build a set of resources, tools, networks and services that help you continuously learn, grow and develop.

Want some help? These 30 Day Learning Challenges will help kickstart new learning habits that will last a lifetime. Click through a link to find out more.

  1. Learn something new every day – This Challenge will help you build a habit of learning something new every day.  Your goal is to find a number of useful sources that will inspire you to continue to learn something new after the Challenge ends
  2. Get the most out of your day job – This Challenge will help you get the most out of your day job so that you can benefit from your everyday work activities. Your goal is to develop a number of new approaches to learn from your daily work experiences that you will be able to continue after the Challenge ends.
  3. Manage your own self-development – This Challenge will help you develop the habit of organising and managing your own self-development. Your goal is to get started on a process for continuing professional self-development that you will continue after the Challenge ends.
  4. Enhance your professional networkThis Challenge will help you build from scratch and/or enhance your existing professional network. Your goal is to build a process for enhancing your own professional network that will continue after the Challenge ends.
  5. Keep up to date with your industry or profession This Challenge will focus on a variety of other ways to help you keep yourself up to date in your industry or profession. Your goal is to identify a number of approaches and tools that will allow you to continuously keep up to date with your industry or profession after the Challenge ends.

You can download these Guidelines
as a PDF to Share

This is how the 30 Day Learning Challenges map onto 12 key ways professionals learn in the modern era.

Building Modern Professional Learning skills through 30 Day Learning Challenges

In the modern workplace every employee needs to take responsibility for their own self-improvement; there is no longer such as a job for life so everyone will constantly need to think about not just improving in their current job but preparing for a future job too.

So how can we help individuals become self-reliant, self-organised and self-managed? In other words, how can we help them build the new skills they will need to survive and thrive in the modern workplace?  Furthermore, how can you hone your own skills too – in order to be best placed to help your people?

One way  is through 30 Day Learning Challenges.

It is said that it takes 30 days to establish a new habit, so our 30 Day Learning Challenges are intended to help  kick-start modern learning habits that will last a lifetime. In other words, every day for 30 days there is a short task  to help participants build the new habit.

Our first five Learning Challenges have now been announced, and they are as follows. Click through the links below to find out more.

  1. Learn something new every day – This Challenge will help you build a habit of learning something new every day.  Your goal is to find a number of useful sources that will inspire you to continue to learn something new after the Challenge ends.
  2. Get the most out of your day job – This Challenge will help you get the most out of your day job so that you can benefit from your everyday work activities. Your goal is to develop a number of new approaches to learn from your daily work experiences that you will be able to continue after the Challenge ends.
  3. Manage your own self-development – This Challenge will help you develop the habit of organising and managing your own self-development. Your goal is to get started on a process for continuing professional self development that you will continue after the Challenge ends.
  4. Enhance your professional network – This Challenge will help you build from scratch and/or enhance your existing professional network. Your goal is to build a process for enhancing your own professional network that will continue after the Challenge ends.
  5. Keep up to date with your industry or profession – This Challenge will focus on a variety of other ways to help you keep yourself up to date in your industry or profession. Your goal is to identify a number of approaches and tools that will allow you to continuously keep up to date with your industry or profession after the Challenge ends.

Who’s responsible for Modern Workplace Learning? We all are!

Workplace Learning has traditionally been seen as the sole responsibility of Training/L&D departments, but in the modern workplace we are all responsible. Here I look at the roles of the individual/employee, the manager and the L&D department.


In the modern workplace every employee needs to take responsibility for their own self-improvement; there is no longer such as a job for life so everyone will constantly need to think about not just improving in their current job, but preparing for a future job.  This means

  • Getting the most out of (and learning from) their daily work experiences
  • Organising and managing their own self-development
  • Learning something new every day
  • Keeping up to date with their industry or profession
  • Building a professional network
  • Choosing and using a mentor


Every manager need to take responsibility for nurturing their team members, so that they can learn for themselves and with one another. This means

  • Encouraging and supporting a continuous learning mindset in their people so they don’t rely on being spoonfed training
  • Being a coach more than a boss in order to develop people
  • Building a social team and leading informal social learning and social collaboration
  • Facilitating collaborative problem solving

L&D Teams

L&D’s role in the modern workplace now becomes one of supporting managers and individuals in the modern workplace, rather than focusing on design and delivery of training. This means

  • Supporting managers
    • as they promote a continuous learning mindset in their people and encourage learnability and self-reliance
    • as they develop their people
    • as they build and lead social teams so that effective sharing of knowledge and experiences takes place
    • as they help their teams to find their own solutions to their performance problems – and supporting the development of any learning solutions or performance support resources (producing only what is required and needed in the format that is desired)
  • Supporting employees
    • to acquire a modern professional learning mindset and the necessary skills in order to become self-reliant, self-directed and self-managed continuous learners in the workplace
    • to connect with one another across the organisation in order to share and learn from one another, and find their own mentors

New role and skills for L&D

So how can L&D teams prepare themselves for modern workplace learning?

Currently most of the products and services directed at L&D are focused on helping them organise and manage training/e-learning initiatives – through technology, content development and outsourced training. That is, after all, what the whole L&D industry has been set up to do.

But to survive and thrive in the modern workplace, L&D teams will need to re-skill themselves to take on the new work of supporting managers and modern employees. So for every learning professional and team this involves 3 key steps.

  1. Building your own modern professional skills.  You can’t help others until you have the skills yourself.  To help you we have designed a series of 30 day learning challenges to help you kick-start modern learning habits that will last a lifetime. These challenges can be offered directly to your people too.
  2. Becoming a social team. This means sharing experiences with one another in your L&D team so that you work closely together, grow together and solve your problems together – and in doing so become role models for the new social behaviours in your organisation. You might start this process by working together on the 30 day learning challenges, and this might be a way for you to encourage other teams to start working (and learning) together too.
  3. Designing the new services that your team will offer to the business – This means considering a range of new services so that you can support all the ways people are learning at, through and for work – not just by designing and delivering training. Our online workshop, Supporting Learning in the Modern Workplace can help you think this through.

In the modern workplace, everyone is responsible for learning and development, but this doesn’t mean the role of L&D will diminish but rather it will become even more important than before, and has the potential to become a driving force for change. But it does mean leaving behind old mindsets, old tools and old behaviours. That is the biggest challenge.

I am Bailey. I am a Modern Professional Learner.

Meet Bailey, a Modern Professional Learner.
This slideset looks at how she wants to learn at work.

How can you support her in the modern workplace?You’ll find some suggestions in the slideset below. too.

A Blueprint for Supporting Modern Professional Learning: Part 3 (A 5-Step Plan to Move Forward)

This is the third of a 3-part series looking at how to support Modern Professional Learners. In Part I looked at why the current L&D (training/knowledge transfer) model is no longer appropriate and why a new model (or blueprint)  is necessary. In Part 2 I provided an overview of the model. In this part I want to look at how you (in L&D) can help to move your organisation forward.

The MPL Support Model is not an add-on to the Knowledge Transfer model; it is a new way of thinking about L&D’s role in the organisation. Let me remind you about the key differences in the comparison table below.

Traditional Training/Knowledge Transfer Model Modern Professional Learning Support Model
  1. L&D is responsible for all training
  2. Focus on developing capabilities to meet organisational needs
  3. L&D knows best what is to be learned – and how to learn it
  4. Standardised – one-size-fits-all – approach
  5. Very little flexibility
  6. Training centrally managed (in a LMS)
  1. Everyone responsible for workplace learning
  2. Personalisation and autonomy are key.
  3. Individual organises/manages own learning  (in an e-portfolio) – the individual knows best
  4. L&D focuses on supporting employees, managers and teams
  5. L&D designs/delivers/manages modern learning interventions where required

This new model therefore requires a completely new organisational mindset about what workplace learning is all about and the role of L&D (and others within it).  In other words workplace learning …

  • is NOT all  about L&D designing/delivering/managing learning interventions FOR employees to learn from
  • it IS more about enabling and supporting  employees  to learn continuously for and by themselves  – for, at and through work  –  and to take responsibility for their own self-improvement both to do their jobs (better) as well as to prepare themselves for the future.

Here is the 5 Step Plan for L&D to move forward.

For L&D professionals this model no longer means TELLING others what do and how to do it but rather they need to live and breathe this new mindset and way of working  by adopting a modern professional learning approach themselves. This is imperative as they will need  to role model the approach; it won’t be a matter of do as I say, but do as do. There are a number of elements of modern professional learning:

  • understanding the rationale for modern professional learning (and the WIIFM)
  • building a personal learning toolkit, setting up a personal learning space and a personally owned digital portfolio
  • learning from, and making the most of daily work experiences
  • addressing performance problems at work
  • keeping up to date with one’s industry or profession
  • setting and managing  one’s own professional goals, documenting progress and evidencing performance

[ONE:  Sign up for our 30 Day Learning Challenges to kick-start modern learning habits that will last a lifetime]

The L&D team needs to become a social team, sharing their knowledge and experiences effectively (using appropriate social tools). This  will be key as the team will need to be able to build and support other teams in their organisation, once again by role-modelling the way their own team members support (and learn from) one another.

The L&D team needs to work together to decide how they want to help both managers and employees with this new approach to workplace learning. This will then help to identify what new services you will offer, what new roles are required in the team as well as what new skills are required. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this; each L&D team will operate differently within their organisation.

[THREE: If you would like some help thinking through the implications of this new approach for your L&D team, we offer an online workshop to help you consider the different types of services and activities you might offer and help you put together a plan to move forward in your organisation. This workshop is available as a scheduled public workshop or privately on demand for your own team ]

The L&D team might well start  of with an Awareness Campaign helping senior managers,  line managers, and employees understand why this model is more appropriate for the organisation and for employees, as well as the new role L&D will play in it.  An Awareness Campaign will likely comprise of a number of forms and format – from one-to-one and group sessions to new pieces of explanatory content in different formats – each designed to reinforce the message by tapping into individual motivations.

[FOUR: As part of a private workshop (described in THREE above), we can also help you design an Awareness Campaign that will provide the appropriate messaging for your organisation. Otherwise, our public Modern Training workshop provides some ideas and guidance for doing this.]

Rather than implementing this new model using a top-down approach , it will be better to work bottom-up with (a) interested managers and their teams, as well as (b) interested individuals who want to take advantage of new ways of self-improvement for both their current jobs as well as their future career, but who don’t yet have a manager committed to this new approach.

[FIVE: We can provide ongoing support/mentorship as you help your organisation adopt this new approach to learning in the workplace. Find out more here.]

Final Note: the adoption and implementation of the MPL Support Model will probably take place over  a period of time (dependent on your organisation) so you will be likely to also need to continue in parallel with a Design & Delivery (knowledge transfer) model for some parts of your organisation that are not yet ready to change their mindset about how workplace learning takes place.

A Blueprint for supporting Modern Professional Learning: Part 2 Overview

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on supporting Modern Professional Learners. In Part 1 I looked at why a new model (or blueprint) is necessary, in Part 2 I look at what it means in practice for L&D professionals.

Overview of the Blueprint

At the heart of this model is a self-reliant, modern employee who addresses their own learning and performance problems, organizes and manages their own professional goals, continuously learns and keeps up to date, builds their own (personally-selected) learning toolkit and maintains their own digital portfolio.

The manager’s role is to enable and support his/her people (individually and collectively) as well as manage performance improvements, whilst L&D’s role becomes one of supporting employees, managers and their teams by guiding and supporting them in new ways.

in this article I am going to take a look BRIEFLY at 6 ways L&D can support employees and 6 ways L&D can support managers.

Supporting employees

  1. Prepare employees for modern professional learning: Many employees are already modern professional learners, but others will need help and support to understand what this means. In particular they will need to recognise the WIIFM (Whats In It For Me) for taking responsibility for their own learning in, at and through work – and that this is not just a cheap way of organisations training people! It will also involve helping employees to build their own personal learning toolkit, as well as maintaining their own digital portfolio, which they will own and manage personally (not in a central (learning) system) so that it is portable and they can take it with them to a new job.
  2. Create performance support resources: As individuals take responsibility for solving their own problems at work, there may be opportunities to provide more support resources. However, these need to be what employees actually need and in the format  they want, not what L&D thinks they need – otherwise they will remain as unused as old-style courses!
  3. Support self-organised and self-managed learning: L&D can have a role in helping (some) individuals set their own professional goals in line with organisational goals, help them identify the most appropriate resources (not just courses) to address them, as well as how to record their progress, and evidence (new) performance in their digital portfolio.
  4. Curate knowledge flows for continuous learning: As individuals recognise the importance of learning continuously – on a daily basis – there will be opportunities to curate useful content for them, i.e. to find the gems in the mass of information created every week. But once again this needs to be what THEY  want – not what L&D thinks they should have!
  5. Support knowledge sharing within teams:  As individuals are encouraged to share what they learn with one another in their teams, L&D can help to support the practice of healthy knowledge sharing  – ie not just sharing for sharing’s sake, but how to add value and avoid over-sharing.
  6. Coordinate networking events: L&D can also enable the practice of wider, knowledge sharing through company networking events – which might promote the dissemination of work projects, ideas and successes in a variety of corporate networking events, which will also service to foster connections across the organisation.

Supporting managers

Managers will have a new role supporting the continuous learning and development of their people – and no longer simply passing off requests for training to L&D. L&D’s role will therefore need to become one of trusted adviser working with managers and their team in the following ways.

  1. Help managers build a continuous learning culture: Managers are the key to this new model of learning, so L&D can help them to recruit for “learnability” (the desire to constantly learn new things) not just competence, as well as to nurture and reward learnability in their existing staff.  If they are serious about continuous learning, they will also want to provide “protected learning time” for their staff to enable them to self-improve as part of their daily work.
  2. Help managers develop their people: For managers, this doesn’t mean training their people themselves, but taking a more active part in supporting their ongoing learning development.  It means being more of a coach than a boss.  L&D can help to support this transition.
  3. Help managers encourage daily reflection:  Part of daily learning involves reflecting on daily work experiences.  By keeping a work journal employees can record and reflect on key moments, and share their significant experiences with their team. This is a new habit that L&D can help employees acquire.
  4. Help  managers with social leadership: Leading a social team might be a new experience for some managers, particularly in the age of social technologies. will mean helping them to build trust, honesty and transparency in their team. L&D can have a role in supporting this activity too.
  5. Facilitate collaborative problem-solving workshops: Rather than imposing a “learning solution” upon a team to address a manager-identified problem, L&D can use a performance consulting approach to help the team find their own solution to the problem.  This may or may not require some L&D-designed intervention, but if it does, it will be important to ensure that it is provided in the format the team wants (not what the L&D team think the team should have!!
  6. Design and deliver modern learning experiences where required: This brings us back to the traditional role of L&D (designing, delivering and managing interventions), but by using this model, fewer interventions will need to be created, and the ones that are provided should be what is REALLY needed and wanted, and in a format that best fits the team – and hence be appreciated and therefore adopted – and consequently lead to performance improvement (which is the metric by which success needs to be measured).

In Part 3 I take a look at the 5 steps you can take to help  your organisation move towards a Modern Professional Learning Support Model.