Q&A with the Learning and Performance Institute

1. In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?

The biggest anxiety in the world of L&D at the moment is survival. We are seeing L&D’s role been challenged and to some extent under valued. We are seeing L&D’s role being taken up by others in the business. We are seeing that “traditional” L&D skills are no longer enough to continue to play a valid and effective role in our organisations.

So what question keeps L&D professionals up at night is: “Am I adding value to my organisation?”

2. Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

My thinking on L&D is informed via a variety of sources. I read, interact and liaise with a variety of L&D professionals, both locally (Australia) and / abroad. I enjoy the writings of a number of learning leaders and I have
an extensive PLN who I can turn to when required.

As the founder of #Ozlearn, which is fast becoming Australia’s premier L&D tweet chat, we have a great network of Oz and overseas L&D professionals who share and network on a number of matters. This, along with our Third Place Meet Ups (social get togethers held around the country) have ensured that we continue to share and discuss local
L&D issues whilst also embracing the global wealth of knowledge, via our twitter chats and interactions.

I also believe in belonging to professional bodies, who can and should play a role in continuing to challenge and support our L&D journey. Organisations such as the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI),  Australian Human Resource Institute (AHRI) and the Association for Talent Development (ATD) are important to my development as an L&D professional.

3. What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?

Well, let me put it this way – it is not going to be MOOCs or at least not the MOOCs as we know them in their current form. Rather, I see the continued development of blended learning interventions, with the increased emphasis on the social learning aspect of these interventions, as the most exciting innovation.

I am also a firm believe of user created learning content, allowing participants to learn from each other, no matter what the medium or platform. To support this, I see L&D playing a highly visible and value-add curation role to support the learner on their journey. Although some may say this is not an innovation, it is a craft / skill that is yet to be perfected nor widely practiced by the L&D community.

4. What “game changers” would you like to see and why?

I would like to see the art of performance consulting practiced by more L&D departments and organisations as a whole. I believe we are still in what Don Taylor calls the “Training Ghetto”. We need to move from “Solutioneering” (as per Nigel Harrison) and to the design and development of performance enhancing solutions aligned to business outcomes and goals (as per Jonathan Kettleborough).

We need to learn to say NO !

Secondly, we need effective and easily accessible benchmarking and assurance tools – only when you know where you have been will you be able to map a path as to where you want to go. Along with quality learning impact measurement tools and processes, L&D can and will become a required workforce enabler.

I believe that once we have achieved these “game changers”, we shall have that seat at the table and the anxiety levels referred above will dissipate.

5. What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?

Learners will have the tools and skills to create their own learning interventions and environment; eLearning will not be as popular, although the use of technology to learn will still be vital.

The affordability of Google Glass and Apple iWatch along with associated Apps will allow the individual to access information easily, quickly and in small bites. L&D’s role will be one of guiding, facilitating, curating and supporting the learning journey.

Performance support at the moment of need will be key; Learning as part of the workflow process will be paramount; Social learning will continue to evolve via a variety of mediums and platforms.

BUT one thing will remain: There will always be the need for physical interaction. We are social butterflies and we thrive on physical connections and interactions. We need, require, depend and thrive on the need to meet face to face.

Although we shall have less Face to Face training per se, we shall see a retention of such things as conferences, conventions,forums, unconfernces, tweet ups, meet ups etc where ideas, thoughts, innovations can be shared, exchanged, challenged and celebrated.

6. What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

I would advise my self to continue on my learning path – read, enquire and seek new knowledge, don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone, challenge fads, ask lots of questions and always go with your heart !

But most importantly, I would advise my 21 self to focus on my health – your health is the most powerful gift you can give yourself for the future.

Con Sotidis

LearnKotch Consulting