L&D as Change Agents

We will not keep up. How many instructional designers could we hire? Wouldn’t matter. It’s a losing game. Too much is changing too fast. It’s a new game and it’s critical. We need to double down on our employee’s ability to learn from each other. Our job as instructional designers and performance consultants is to support this. We are no longer primary providers or creators. They are.

1) Create a boot camp for new employees. Core knowledge is still needed and we can provide it. But it needs to be efficient and streamlined. We need to provide “deep learning” around concepts — the why of how things work. This will help employees problem solve when answer isn’t known. Give real understanding and insights into consequences of mistakes.

2) Teach digital literacy skills in boot camp.

3) Instill confidence and sense of pride in importance of their work and in their ability to learn and do at all stages of learning from bootcamp and on.

4) Tie customer service skills to our customer service strategy and ensure this is aligned throughout learning process. Create authentic environments for learning customer service.

5) Then empower ALL existing employees to create and share and work out loud and we provide tools and skills for them to do this (and leadership demands time is available and built in to do this on job) — knowledge management, community, video, facilitator training, are examples but just the start.

6) Connect people to experts through technology.

7) Reward all of this. Remove negative consequences. Remove roadblocks.

These are focus areas. Doesn’t matter what else is done, it won’t work, unless this is part of the solution. This is the only answer but not a complete one — we will need to continually refine and expand and flex to what is coming. The future depends on a workforce that can keep up with change.

Without these changes we will fall further behind and lose our relevance in L&D.

This is a fundamental shift. The ideas are fairly simple. It will not be easy. But we need to lead it. If we don’t, someone else will.

These ideas are not my own. I linked to several key messages, but they are just a few of so many. These ideas come not only from the thought leaders in our profession but also from the everyday practitioners in our field who see this every day. Our problems are the same problems faced by every company in every industry. There are known solutions like the ideas above. The companies that heed them and seek them out will be the companies that succeed.

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