Organisations are no longer like they were 50 years ago; people are constantly moving around in their careers, and this is set to continue. So whereas training was originally done to people at a time when it was about training people to do a job for life, it is increasingly clear that conventional training practices and approaches are now outdated. Individuals mostly want to learn what they need for their job, as and when they need it – and L&D can’t possibly provide everything everyone needs. What is more people learn in many different ways – not just through organised L&D activities – but everyday, inside and outside the workplace.
Modern Professional Learning is how we learn in the new world of work; it is more than being taught or trained and includes many different elements as shown in the diagram below.
It happens both inside and outside an organisation:
- Inside an organisation it happens through both L&D- and Manager-organised initiatives
- Outside an organisation it happens thorough self-organised initiatives
It is more than taking formal training or courses, and involves:
- finding things out
- solving learning and performance problems
- keeping up to date with what happens in ones industry or profession
- interacting with both content and people
- doing ones daily work
It is both planned and unplanned (accidental and serendipitous), conscious and sub-conscious
In the modern workplace L&D now has a tripartite role – not just organising things for people to learn from (e.g. courses and resources), it means supporting all the other ways people learn for and at work. This means supporting manager-led learning and empowering employee-led learning.
By empowering employee-led learning, organisations will gain substantial benefits, e.g.
- as individuals bring their knowledge and networks to work so others in the organisation can more easily learn from shared experiences and resources
- as individuals have easier access to a wider range of resources (content and people) they will be able to solve organisational performance problems more quickly
- as individuals take responsibility for their own professional learning and career development, so the organisation will be able to benefit from their new knowledge and skills
Furthermore, as as individual’s learning is managed by the individual him or herself, trying to track everything everyone learns in a corporate LMS becomes an increasingly irrelevant task. It therefore makes more sense to focus on enabling individuals to improve themselves in the ways that suit them best – and supporting them as they do this.
The organisational success metrics for empowering employee-led learning will then be determined by job, team and business performance improvements.
(This is an extract from Learning in the Modern Workplace 2017)