Happy Same Year!?
Welcome to 2016!
As a new year is upon us, it’s that time again where folks who blog about learning and development share their predictions for the coming year. It’s always fun to see where people think the field is going and it would be interesting to look back on the year in December to see how close their predictions were.
So, in the spirit of a new year I thought I’d throw out a few ideas of my own about L&D for the year ahead (specifically for those working in L&D). My overall prediction is that what’s easy to do will be favoured over what’s necessary and while there may be good intentions across the L&D field to change, most of these won’t come to fruition.
Here’s some specific thoughts:
Attending conferences will be the main source of PD for learning folks, after all it’s a day or two out of the office, the food is usually good and there’s the possibility of gathering some forward-thinking ideas from the presenters. Then it’s back to work all juiced up with the intention of ‘doing things differently’ but the ideas will either be forgotten completely within a week or will be blocked by someone at a more senior level and subsequently abandoned without a fight.
Formal courses will also be relied on for the ongoing development of learning and development folks which will be the reason why courses will be offered as the default option to upskill employees. After all, if L&D people only take courses they’re not exposing themselves to different ways of learning so how can they offer other methods to others?
Online courses will continue to be used as stand-alone, one-off learning experiences or a way to convert classroom sessions and will involve shovelling copious amounts of content at those who are forced to take them. Considered design, user experience, contextualisation and personalisation will take a backseat to content dumps. Micro, on-demand and social learning will not feature on the L&D radar or be integrated with more formal approaches. Many learning folks will be left scratching their heads as to why courses don’t deliver value or change behaviour and the business will again dismiss L&D as a waste of time.
There’s a large existing body of learning research and evidence about how people process information and learn. This year, the research will again be ignored completely in learning design (mainly due to a lack of awareness that it even exists) although a preference for incorporating learning styles and use of the MBTI instrument will remain as popular as ever.
Using tools like blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yammer or Pinterest will be largely ignored by learning professionals (for personal and workplace learning) apart from a short spike in usage after attending a learning conference. This will fade in the days after the event as pre-conference ways of working and learning take over. The perception of SoMe as ‘goofing off’ will remain strong in organisations and at the same time the opportunity for free, on-demand learning will be lost as connection to people and access to knowledge is blocked by corporate firewalls.
While this post is somewhat tongue-in-cheek and generalises everyone, it does reflect what I see among learning and development professionals that I come into contact with. I do know that there are L&D folks who are chipping away at change but they are definitely in the minority. I’m really hoping that the opposite of what I’ve written here happens in 2016 so let’s check back at the end of the year and see…