Throwing Down the Learning and Development Gauntlet
So here it is, 2021. We’ve all suffered from the pandemic and disruption of work as usual. Perhaps no field of specialization has been more affected—in a good way—than that of learning and development. Finally, amid a global crisis pushing employers to the brink and employees to new and unfamiliar strategies, organizations are beginning to see the tremendous value we bring to the table.
Unlike past circumstances, the pandemic highlighted the value uniquely provided by our elearning solutions. They’re agnostic to our customers’ location, offering the convenience of time and place to all who eagerly seek the knowledge we’ve packaged for them. They may complain about the Next button, but they’ve come to appreciate it, too. It’s their clear next step along the pathway we carefully programmed for them to learn. We know best, and they’re finally showing us some long-overdue respect.
As practitioners of our craft, we’ve indeed suffered long enough. Some people call us order-takers. Others say we inflate our importance to make our jobs seem more challenging than they are. They’ve even said we’re out of touch with our employers’ business, complaining too much about unimportant things and insisting on taking people away from jobs.
We know that people learn in many different ways and address most of these learning styles in a single solution. It’s one of the reasons we insist on a training intervention in the form of elearning rather than pointing out alternate approaches, like eliminating the need for training through better design or improving hiring practices to find the best fit for job openings. Our motto is, “There is no process too complex to train people on.”
Finally, with increased respect comes increased importance and unwelcome responsibility. Ultimately, our employees should reward us for our tremendous wisdom. Business leaders will invite us to the boardroom with a seat at the table because, well, we deserve it. They will finally follow our lead and increase budgets to make the positive impact we expect from our exceptional solutions.
Of course, at this point, pigs will fly, and the flat Earth’s gravity will pull satellites down from what once were orbits. In the end, the respect we crave is not rising like the Phoenix from the ashes of the pandemic but from an odd tradition of fooling ourselves on one day each year in April. Until this extends by another 364 days of the year, we instead need to listen to business needs to monitor and anticipate skill or knowledge gaps that arise. We will need to aggressively challenge ourselves to think beyond our’ click next to continue’ box and address these gaps in the context of everything that is the modern workplace. The pandemic and evolving hybrid workplace certainly provide us an excellent place to start