Trends

Crystal ball gazing! L&D in 2013 & times ahead.

The Chief Learning Officer Magazine group on Linkedin had a question : “What learning and development trends are you anticipating in 2013?”  What started out as simple crystal ball gazing into 2013 ended with a slew of points, which I then brought down to the Top 10.   Read on!

2013 will see employees born in the 1990s coming into organisations. The world has always been different for this generation. A world where the internet has always been available. Choice is central. Freedom is valued. Authority is irrelevant if it doesn’t add value! Thus 2013 and the next few years will perhaps be the inflection points where fundamental changes in the way L&D ( & organisations ) operate will commence taking place.

Obviously, different parts of the world are differently placed to leverage what the year ahead has to offer. Some technologically advanced & privileged and yet others rich in contexts and physical interactions. Therefore, the challenges and trends are going to be remarkably different.

Yet, here are a few trends. Perhaps, hopes that I nurture for 2013 and the times ahead.

1. Principally, learning & development will have a whole lot to answer. ‘Outcome accountability’ will supersede ‘action accountability’. The age old question of effectiveness will continue to hold court. But with even greater focus. A question that wont get answered by a meaningless set of numbers but by a coherent change, seen in the field.

2. 2013 hopefully will see L&D and line managers reach out to each other and collectively own accountability for employee learning and organisational growth. Or rather, they will be forced to. (Or so I hope!). Learner and line manager accountability will have more mind share than the present.

3. The need to think BEYOND the classroom and e-learning courses will not only be acutely felt, it would be persistently demanded by leadership teams. With economies and organisations still negotiating uncharted territories, the need for cost effective long lasting change will stand tall. Not fancy courses, exotic locations, flash and binders. Action Learning and similar pedagogies will get far greater mileage than what they get now.

4. Imaginative blends that have accent on ‘choice’, enabling employees to choose what is most required for himself / herself will begin emerging. And these choices will not be limited to what the L&D team can put together but all that is available in the world! L&D would well not be gatekeepers but rather facilitate employees leveraging these better. MOOCs & Personal Learning Networks are cases in point. With commoditization of information and knowledge, L&D could well move to being ‘levers’ to help learners and their managers to access their own learning

5. The accent of ‘performance’ on the learning agenda will increase and thus ‘performance support’ and ‘transfer of learning’ will gain far more importance than ‘learning’ itself. (The outcomes superseding action theme applies here as well).

6. Executive Coaching as a performance support tool will emerge stronger than it is today. This capability for executive coaching coming from within or from learning services organisations.

7. The technology enabled learning space will grow far beyond the confines of an LMS and E-Learning courses. The primacy of ‘What do you know’, slowly getting replaced by ‘Who do you know that knows what you want to know’. Experts and expertise that resided with a few will increasingly get to reside in the open space for people to access. And more often than not, beyond the organisation’s firewall. (The organisation’s firewall in itself could undergo a change, to include vendors, suppliers et al!)

8. Technology will enable byte sized chunking of learning and creating opportunities for employees to learn anytime. Easy and ready to access formal learning content, user generated content and curated content, at the time of actual requirement for learning / reinforcement. Mobiles, tablets, laptops will all be vehicles to access content resting on the cloud, ready to be accessed closest to actual performance. Technology will sure change the anachronistic methods of evaluation and hopefully lead us to a purposeful use of big data.

9. The importance of line leaders taking ownership of organisational learning and all kinds of investment in employee development will start getting more acutely felt. Thus comprehensive learning interventions that are led by co-designed and co-facilitated by line managers will see greater emphasis. Not only will it hold great value for employees, it would pave the way for contextual leadership building as well. L&D to get line managers skilled and willing to do this more often will be key to success

10. All of these would mean the need for L&D folks to critically look at their own portfolio of talent and skills will emerge stronger than ever! L&D leaders who weave imaginative, cost effective solutions in partnership with employees/ line leadership resulting in meaningful, measurable impact will be sought after!

Like always, would love to hear your views.