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.

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Jane Hart

Jane Hart helps organisations and learning professionals modernise their approaches to workplace learning - through public workshops and bespoke consultancy. She is the Editor of the Modern Workplace Learning Magazine, and is the author of a number of books including Learning in the Modern Workplace 2017 as well as the resource: How to become a Modern Professional Learner. You can contact Jane at Jane.Hart@C4LPT.co.uk.