Who is responsible for modern workplace learning?

This is a page of the first FREE section of the MWL resource. You can purchase access to the full resource HERE

Section 1 Contents

Modern Workplace Learning is everyone’s responsibility (as illustrated on this diagram and described briefly below

 need to take responsibility for their own continuous self-improvement, learning and development to stay relevant in their jobs – and not rely on being spoon fed by their organisations. Hence developing the skills for modern learning will be key. Having personal and relevant learning experiences will be important, rather than relying on a one-size-fits all, sheep dip approach to training. However, different approaches will be necessary dependent on the culture of the organisations and the levels of autonomy of the individuals.

Managers need to take (much more) responsibility for the growth and development of their people in their daily working lives – and not just pass this off to their L&D department. It means valuing non-training ways of learning, adopting modern learning practices themselves, and encouraging the sharing of knowledge and experiences in their teams.

L&D needs to stop trying to “command and control” workplace learning. After all they can no longer provide and manage everything everyone needs to learn to do their job and prepare them and the organisation for the future. Their work will need to be more about building, enabling and supporting this new organisational learning culture and mindset. Adopting a modern workplace learning mindset will not mean imposing some top-down change management program, rather it will mean L&D having a new relationship with the business, as follows:

(1) With managers

L&D needs to move away from being a “course order taker” – simply taking instructions for training or courses from managers.  This situation has arisen since managers tend to see solutions to work problems as courses, but courses are often not the best solution, as Ron Carucci points out in When companies should invest in training their employees — and when they shouldn’t.

“Training is useful at times but often fails, especially  when it is used to address problems that it can’t actually solve … Many well-intended leaders view training as a panacea to obvious learning opportunities or behavioral problems.”

Training has to be a valid and appropriate response to a need. So if L&D continues to act as “course order takers”, nothing will change. L&D therefore need to work with managers as a consultant, partner or advisor.

The key to continuous learning lies with managers, so this will involve helping managers adopt a new management style that is not focused on simply directing people to do their job and making sure they do it, but growing and developing their team. 

(2) With individuals

L&D needs to move away from being the “learning gatekeeper” where they control access to all learning in the workplace, and from the “learning police” where they enforce the process, as this tongue-in-cheek graphic highlights!

L&D professionals need to become Modern Learning Practitioners, where their role involves fostering self-sufficient modern workers who are not reliant on being spoon-fed everything they need to do their job, but enabling and supporting their learning in all its ways – at, for or through work.

⇒   Modern Workplace Learning Technology

Last updated: October 14, 2020 at 15:30 pm