Challenge, change and effective learning leadership

Todayʼs learners can access Google and other internet-based services and websites. So — at least potentially — they can know more than classroom instructors do.

This provides both challenge and change in respect of the L&D professionalʼs role. No longer can L&D professionals be the “owners” of learning materials. Instead, would-be successful L&D professionals should see themselves as “learning leaders”. This means becoming curators of learning — constantly asking, “whoʼs going to want which learning materials; why do they want these materials; what learning experience do we want to offer so as to create, in learners, a particular, desired insight — and how do we help to bring about that insight?”

In addition, they must consider which delivery platforms and infrastructures will be most effective and efficient at delivering the most appropriate learning materials. Rather than being concerned purely with the development and delivery of learning content.


The Irish playwright and critic, George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. Todayʼs L&D professionals must engage in mind-changing if they want to be successful in L&Dʼs rapidly developing brave new world.
By nature, L&D professionals tend to be drawn to “words”, whereas those who run the worldʼs businesses prefer “numbers”. So, L&D professionals should get to like numbers too. In particular, they should work as closely as possible with those who control the budgets in their organisation – so they can understand and then influence how budgets are allocated.

The key to success for L&D professionals is resources, not courses. L&D professionals should not focus on what they can deliver but, rather, they need to focus on what they should change — and how they should do it.

Modern learning agenda

And, as L&D professionals change their focus, their organisationsʼ LMS also need to evolve to reflect the modern learning agenda. The LMS has a role to play in managing the small overall proportion of learning thatʼs formal, but it must also adapt to sustain informal and social learning too. Downloadable resources such as eBooks and Microlearning will also feature on the modern LMS as well as the capacity to schedule classroom training.
Content curation and user-generated content all require support and facilitation — even moderation. The LMS needs to offer learners the L&D tools to enable them to fully capitalise on all their learning activities. It also needs to provide learners with a platform to learn and share knowledge collaboratively — becoming, in effect, an organisation-specific “Google for learning”.

Whatever an organisationʼs strategy, L&D exists to develop people to deliver its goals. So, despite all the changes — in technology, the modern workplace, learnersʼlearning delivery preferences and L&D professionalsʼ roles and responsibilities – L&D still has a role to play in ‘strategic enablementʼ within an organisation.

L&Dʼs role continues to be about prioritising and directing content where itʼs needed – and LMSs have played a useful role in making identifying these needs easier.

However, there are times when learners want to direct their own informal learning. When thatʼs the case, L&D should provide learning resources and signpost content that may be valuable to learners.

As a modern learning leader, L&D professionals must help learners to find and source content more effectively and efficiently.

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