3 old habits that L&D need to leave behind

We have reached a pivotal point in the development of the L&D industry, where we need to make some hard decisions and critical changes if we are to remain effective.

Written by Emerald Works
Published 02 April 2019
3 old habits that L&D need to leave behind

The actions we are taking at present, are often ineffective as they rarely create any lasting business impact. Right now, we are failing to show the value we possess to business leaders and lacking credibility with learners. So our approach to learning needs to adapt along with the times!

In order to successfully move forwards with our L&D strategies, we need to leave things behind. After all, we cannot be holding on to old, ineffective behaviours and expecting new, more impactful results. But what exactly is it that we need to leave behind?  

By evaluating the deeply ingrained habits of the learning and development industry, a group of over 50 people professionals from London and Munich established what behaviours are hindering L&D’s ability to thrive and according to our data, they are not wrong!  

Here are the 3 old habits we need to let go of in order to build credibility with learners and establish a more impactful learning strategy:

1. Independence

Independence is always traditionally seen as a great characteristic to hold, one of individuality, strength and durability. But within the internal dynamics of a business, that thrives as a result of teamwork and interconnectivity, independence is not the desired attribute for a department to hold. L&D needs to stop fighting against the waves, but rather go with them and work with the organisation and its goals. 

According to our research, those that are improving the effectiveness of formal learning are more likely to hold online evaluations of business impact to ensure learning is aligned with business targets. As such, it is evident that the most impactful learning happens within organisations that are working towards a common goal.

2. Design

According to the people professionals within our study, L&D need to take a step back and recognise that we do not always know what is best for the learner, and that’s okay. They argue, learning content should be shaped around what the learners need, as opposed to what people professionals think they need. This supports our data, since organisations that are improving the effectiveness of their formal learning are 21% more likely to involve users in the design of the most appropriate learning approach.

By adopting this new mentality and involving learners in the design of their own learning solutions, organisations are 4x more likely to be able to personalise learning to individual needs which helps to build a solid learning culture and improve the effectiveness of formal learning.

3. Control

The third and final old habit that needs to be kicked is the control we feel we need to have, as learning professionals, over the learning journey of our people. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is always good to have control of the reigns to some extent, but according to our people professionals on the ground, we need to give our learners freedom to breath.

They need to be given responsibility for their own learning journey in order to ensure learning is not something that happens to them, but rather involves them. It is clear from our data, that those increasing the effectiveness of formal learning build credibility with learners by giving learners access to learning provisions at any time.  

Heading to the future  

We need to build the credibility of L&D with learners if we want to successfully improve the effectiveness of formal learning. But how do we do it? Clearly we have reached a point where old habits are now hindering our own ability to move forwards. 

About the author

Emerald Works

Emerald Works

At Emerald Works, we’re committed to helping individuals and organizations around the world realize their full potential by using evidence-led learning solutions that work.

We work together to build learning cultures that empower people to bring about real change for real impact.

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