The future of Learning & Development

It is now almost three years since I led the L&D 2020 project which identified the key trends for the future of L&D in organisations:

  • L&D is focusing more on business rather than individual outcomes
  • People are finding new ways to learn independently of the L&D function
  • Continuous, informal, social learning will grow and cannot be controlled
  • New technologies provide new opportunities not just new ways to deliver content
  • Individuals want their informal learning to be recognised (accredited)
  • Manager and individual responsibilities continue to be critical in successful learning
  • Boundaries between L&D and OD will blur as learning is embedded
  • The L&D professionals’ skill set will need to evolve to respond to these changes

It seems amazing now how these trends, which we saw as an acceleration in a continued direction of travel rather than a radical departure, are now accepted as the way things are – this certainly wasn’t the case when the work was originally done. Indeed, I am still minded to think of the science fiction writer William Gibson’s comment that the future is already here, it is just unevenly distributed. In other words, some organisations really are adopting these principles and, in some cases, even moving onto the next stage but many L&D functions still see their role as delivering stand-up training and use e-learning just to push content at people – they will have to change.

Read more about L&D 2020 here.