From training delivery to continuous learning

Companies clearly have a responsibility to provide training and opportunities for their people,  and many L&D departments have already made efforts in modernising their training initiatives to make them more relevant for today’s workforce.  Others have gone further and are now providing a wider range of learning opportunities and resources for on demand use. But in an agile organisation – where things are changing very fast – continuous learning now becomes an imperative.

However, supporting continuous learning in an organisation requires a completely different mindset and approach, so the following table highlights some of the key differences as well as L&D’s role in it.

 rationale  “We need to make sure our people are competent and compliant.”  “We want to offer our people a range of flexible resources to use as they wish.” We want to help our people to self-improve and self-develop.”
 model  delivery  self-service  self-reliance
 L&D role  providing (intermittent) training  providing  resources to help with ad hoc learning and performance problems helping individuals get the most out of their daily work and take control of their careers
 developing content  building modern professional skills
 courses  resources

 tools/ platforms

learning platform
 portal  self-selected tools
and services

Although there will continue to be a need for L&D to provide modern training and on demand learning – there will be an increasing necessity to help individuals become much more self-reliant in terms of their own continuous self-improvement and self-development. Whereas some organizations might be concerned by this, in fact, by helping individuals prepare for their own futures means they are more likely to stay in an organisation. This is also what will make the difference in how future-ready organisations learn, grow and thrive.

How to enable and support continuous independent learning

Although for many people continuously learning from a multitude of sources both for, through and at work is a natural way of life for them, there are others who think that workplace learning is all about being trained. So, when it comes to continuous independent learning, the first step will involve preparing the ground and helping both managers and employees acquire a new mindset about what it means to learn continuously at work, and how the learning function can help them.

Futhermore, whilst it will be important to have central training records for compliance and regulatory purposes, it doesn’t mean trying to achieve the impossible task of tracking everyone’s learning. Rather, it means helping individuals to organise and manage their own learning and development – using their own personally-selected tools – and maintaining a record of their own achievements that they can take with them throughout their career.

This new approach requires a new learning professional role that I call a Modern Learning Advisor, whose work is to build and support self-reliant and self-sufficient modern professionals who can make the most of, and learn from all kinds of experiences and opportunities to self-improve and self-develop.

Want to find out more? Our next workshop  Enabling & Supporting Continuous Independent Learning (running 15 January – 2 March 2018) covers the following topics:

  1. Changing mindsets: Preparing individuals and managers for continuous independent learning
  2. Helping managers enable and support continuous independent learning
  3. Helping individuals learn from their daily work
  4. Helping individuals become modern professional learners
  5. Helping individuals manage their professional self-development
  6. Helping individuals share what they learn
  7. Putting in place a Learning Concierge/Help Desk service for ongoing support.


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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