L&D: From Delivery to Dialogue (and Business Results)

Too many training courses are merely a distraction rather than an enabler of better performance and business results. Let me explain…

When a business performance or capability issue is identified in an organisation, and a course (either in-person or online) is recognised as the ‘solution’, the learning outcomes are decided and all the focus then goes on delivering, embedding, assessing and measuring these learning outcomes. What is measured and reported is often:

  • Satisfaction
  • Attendance
  • Hours / days of learning
  • Assessment
  • Whether the learning was ‘transferred back to the workplace’
  • Whether there was a return on the investment

The focus on how and to what extent people are actually able to do the jobs they want (or need) to do better has been lost for the sake of ‘scale’ and ‘consistency’ – and then it’s not about the job, it’s about ‘learning’.

But what if, instead of ‘delivery’ L&D focused more on ‘dialogue’, understanding the actual challenges faced by different employee groups and looking at ways to provide ‘resources’ that equip them with the tools to overcome those challenges – to perform their jobs better now? As an example, what would New Manager development look like if L&D provided useful resources relating directly to the job from day one – and all along their journey before any formal programme? And more importantly, imagine the impact of influencing their performance from the moment they become a new manager, by sharing what successful managers in the organisation already do, rather than several months down the line once bad habits had been ingrained.

You can do this today with the right technology. Rapidly created digital resources, that take the expertise and know-how within an organisation and share it with those who need it for their jobs, can begin plugging performance and capability gaps today. For many in L&D, this may seem alien but technology now enables this conversation. Resources can be created (or curated) in minutes and tailored to specific performance and contextual needs. These can also be improved in moments. Compare this with courses that are designed for – and delivered to – many (often hundreds, if not thousands of people) who all do different jobs, for the sake of ‘scale’ and ‘consistency’, rather than – primarily for – enhanced performance.

For L&D, refocusing on performance means less about ‘delivery’ and more about continuous ‘dialogue’, understanding the roles people want to perform and enhancing them with the sum of their organisation’s know-how.

We all want employees to continuously develop and grow and we can facilitate this now, but not for learning outcomes (and not to become a ‘learning organisation’) but for performance outcomes (and becoming a high performance organisation), designed to deliver real results. This truly is an integral role for L&D in any business.

Find out more with this free white paper by David James and the Learning & Performance Institute.

David James is Chief Learning Strategist with Looop and a seasoned Talent Management, Learning & OD leader with nearly 20 years of experience in the field. Until recently, David was Director of Talent, Learning & OD for The Walt Disney Company’s EMEA region.

Looop help their clients all over the world to digitally transform their L&D and capitalise on how people really want to learn today with a platform that is renowned for its extraordinary levels of learner engagement.

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