L&D has come in for some major criticism over the years – much of it valid – but perhaps now we need L&D more than ever before.
I was reading a couple of recent blog posts by Don Taylor which really made me think – part of one of the posts is reproduced below:
“…10 hours earlier, I had been in conversation with Todd Tauber, Tom Gram and Guy Wallace about the changing nature of work and the impact on the workplace and the L&D department. Todd summed up the conversation succinctly:
@tomgram1 @DonaldHTaylor @guywwallace I agree learning is essential. But L&D is not.
— todd tauber (@toddtauber) December 18, 2014
For me these comments are two faces of the same coin. There is an ideal state of learning integrated into the workplace that successful organisations will head towards. Those that do not integrate individual and organisational learning practices into their daily working life will lose competitive advantage and fail.
What is L&D’s role in this? It can ignore the change, facilitate it, or even lead it, but the change is happening.
Our response, and our fate, are in our own hands.”
Why we need L&D more than ever
According to the tweet from Todd Tauber, ‘learning is essential but L&D is not.’ This is an interesting position which I think is mistaken, and here’s why.
If we hold the belief that learning is essential but L&D isn’t then how about the following:
- Food is essential but farming is not
- Health is essential but hospitals are not
- Money is essential but banks are not
- Electricity is essential but utility companies are not
Clearly the argument doesn’t stack up and this is because the farmers and banks and utility companies all provide an exceptionally valuable service in that they organise vital resources so we can all benefit. We may not like the banks but having cash machines on every high street is a function of their ability to organise these vital resources. It’s the same with farmers – yes, we can grow our own vegetables and raise some chickens – but we can’t do it on the scale or efficiency of the professionals.
And this is why we need L&D. I believe that L&D offers an unrivalled opportunity to organise the vital and scarce resources of learning better than we can on our own. Sure, we can all log in to our favourite MOOC or read a wide range of blogs – but it is a great L&D team that can rally and organise resources for the benefit of us all.
I saw a recent Google Hangout with Elliott Masie and Don Taylor, $$ CITATION $$ Elliott was asked what the top three issues were within L&D. He responded with:
- Compression, and
- Mapping to competencies
In a supporting and telling comment, Don then asked, “How are we putting together the right learning for people?” We are doing this through the use of great L&D teams – and this is why we need L&D more than ever before.
In future posts I’ll explore Elliott’s top three issues – all of which require L&D to be successful.
There’s clearly a lot more to this post than I’ve written here but it’s worthy of further thought – in a world where there’s just so much ‘DIY learning’ it can be easy to forget why we need L&D – but let’s not.