Sukh Pabial asks – What’s next for L&D?

The learning solutions landscape has changed significantly in the last 15 years. When I started out as an L&D Officer, we were delivering learning through only face to face solutions. Some coaching was happening, and the odd bit of e-learning was present. In a lot of workshops we used video based resources showing “live” situations. We had Computer Based Training solutions often delivered via a CD-ROM. The internet wasn’t really a thing then for anything other than online shopping sites and news feeds. YouTube was in its real infancy.

Move forward a few years, and not a lot more new was happening. Video content became DVD content. E-learning was really quite niche still and there was still a lot of face to face learning. Websites were catching up and suddenly you could stream video content on news sites. Facebook became a thing. Twitter had just started.

Move forward a few years more and suddenly there was an explosion of social networking sites both enterprise and public. Webinars were becoming more popular and blogging was becoming a strong force. WordPress was coming into its own. Not only that but people were playing and messing with formats of conferences creating events like unconferences and barcamps and hackathons. What nobody expected was the impact of the new web on brands and immediateness (totally I word I just made up) of customer service via these new channels.

Fast forward to today and mobile technology is in a place no one could have conceived 15 years ago. Back then it was a simple device no more complicated than a PDA with phone and message capabilites. Look at the ubiquity of mobile use in today’s world with then and it’s the single biggest technological shift we’ve seen in consumer use of the shortest period of time. Online learning, wikis, online collaboration sites, digital universities, and many other forms of digital learning are abundantly available.

That’s a short space of time for a step change to have happened in the learning landscape. There’s a lot of talk and rhetoric from many in the learning writing and consultancy sphere who make all sorts of claims about the redundancy of face to face learning, about the need for modern learning solutions, about the new skills L&Ders require in developing effective learning holistic solutions. But in truth it’s not really a wonder most of the profession hasn’t caught up.

Who knows what lies in store tomorrow. A lot of what happened over the last 15 years many of us couldn’t have been predicted, certainly not most of us in the L&D space. Let’s cut each other some slack on this front. Sure there are modern learning solutions which are available, but this doesn’t equate to all L&Ders knowing these. The sharing of learning we have as practitioners is probably the most valued thing we can do in the L&D profession. Be that through curation, blogging, vlogging, writing or speaking, there are a good many options for sharing our learning to raise what we all do.

Follow Sukh on twitter @sukhpabial

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