Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Predictions for 2008

Happy New Year !

Given that it is traditional at this time to make predictions for the forthcoming 12 months - here are mine relating to the L&D Profession.

Firstly - I see 2008 as the year when Web 2.0 tools will start to be integrated into mainstream L&D. Currently I see a massive gap between the knowledge of the early adopters of Web 2.0 technologies and the vast majority of L&D/HR colleagues (and other colleagues in our organisations). For example: just do a quick straw poll on how many colleagues know what an RSS reader is, and how it can improve workplace productivity. In 2007, we started to see the occasional article in CIPD, ASTD and similiar L&D publications ...in 2008 I hope the discussion will increase.

From increased awareness, I anticipate we (as the L&D profession) will start to identify the most beneficial tools for enhanced 'blended' learning (blended - both in the sense of (i) instructor led & 'e-learning'; and also (ii) L&D influenced & manager-influenced workplace learning).

Secondly - given the anticipated ecomonic 'slowdown', I anticipate that 2008 will further differentiate between organisations that see L&D as an investment to navigate the difficult operating climate, and those who dont make this a strategic priority (and hence impose significant financial cuts to L&D activities).

Many L&D professionals are already well skilled in driving value-for-money - through solid management of training services procurement (e.g. leverage of volume discounts with third party vendors), attendance (e.g. ensuring classes run full) and metrics (e.g. demonstrating to line managers their role in securing lasting behavioural change)

I'd anticipate these skills will be ever more important (as well as those more traditionally associated with our profession - e.g. instructional design, learning needs analysis, facilitation).

Thirdly - I see 2008 as a year of increased merging of roles & responsibilities in our HR profession. In 2007 there seemed to be an increasing number of articles highlighting the limitations of the Ulrich model - and the dangers of L&D being a silo (or even separate profession).

The need for the L&D profession to look beyond 'training' to ensure effective workplace learning, and the need for HR business partners to engage (ever more impactfully) with business leaders on both performance management & talent management/development, should help bring HR more closely together.

Hence, for L&D professionals, we need to expertly understand 'Performance Management' and 'Talent Management' strategies, tools & current best practices.

....only the next 12 months will tell !