Sunday, 24 February 2008

Strategic Learning & Development - 2008 Conference, Amsterdam 21-22 Feb. (1)

Having just returned from the above conference - speaking on 'The Role of the Line Manager in Facilitating Workplace Learning' - I'm encouraged and inspired by the various conversations and presentations from fellow L&D professionals.

Firstly - a big thank you to all those with whom I had the pleasure to swap ideas and share stories ! (and share the odd beer or glass of wine).

Here are a few initial reflections:

  • There are significant similiarities in the challenges we face in L&D across all sectors & countries !
  • Equally, the business acumen of L&D professionals is impressive ... not only is it a 'given' that L&D services need to be fully aligned with the business strategy of the organization, but there is also clear expertise of applying people-orientated change-management strategies appropriate to the contextual factors of the company.
  • Current 'Hot topics' include: Outsourcing of L&D services, and collaborative learning via Web 2.0 technologies and understanding the impact of learning.

Successful L&D strategies tend to have the following common features:

  • Active sponsorship from the senior leadership of the organisation - (to drive organizational change).
  • Understanding of the need to connect with the emotions of the learners - (since people are choosing to 'reference' vs. retain knowledge as the shelf-life of knowledge dramatically decreases)
  • Deployment of web-based L&D technologies - (where global solutions are required)
  • Recognise that you can only outsource the systems that facilitate learning - (not learning itself !)

I'll be returning to the insights from this conference in the coming days/weeks - meanwhile I continue to reflect on the question posed by Nick Shackleton-Jones of the BBC:

"What would a perfect learning environment look like ?"