One of the biggest hurdles to becoming a Learning and Development professional is the recognition that, in addition to dispensing L&D advice and materials, you, too, need some L&D.
This is particularly true where the rapidly developing world of online learning technologies is concerned. Here, there are all sorts of potential traps for the L&D professional – especially one with a budget to spend.
The first thing to realise is that you’re not alone. The continuing rapid expansion, and influence, of online learning is bringing more people – from varying backgrounds and with a variety of work and life experiences – into the L&D world.
There are some self-help networking organisations – notably the eLN in the UK – that can help you develop your understanding of the key issues and approaches to online learning. There are industry events, such as various Learning Technologies* conferences around the world, where the careful listener can pick up some useful knowledge – and networking contacts.
There are also helpful – but also some not-so-helpful – blogs where fledgling L&D professionals can build their experience of what’s important and what’s less important to know.
People Remain Human
The key thing to remember in any L&D activity related to the professional of L&D is that times change; technologies change, and learning technologies change. On the other hand, people remain human.
This means that those whose job involves identifying the need for L&D materials, and/or designing; developing; introducing, and popularising ‘learning’ within their organisations face the same issues that they’ve always faced – even if the advent of ‘learning technologies’ since the 1960's and continuing advances in technology now mean that there are more learning delivery mechanisms to choose from than there used to be.
Every generation needs to learn the lessons that previous generations had to learn – including understanding the key issues relating to ‘learning technologies’.
From everyone’s perspective, the pace of life may change and the technology we use will change. However, the basic people-related issues remain the same because, essentially, human beings haven’t changed. We all continue to have the same basic needs, regardless of the age in which we live or the technology we employ to meet those needs.
In particular, L&D professionals who are trying to meet their organisation’s objectives by using various materials to develop the skills in these organisations’ workforces, face the same challenges that L&D professionals have always faced. It’s just that they have many more options and (technology-based) tools in their armoury that these challenges can seem harder and the dangers of making a mistake appear to be greater than they used to be.
Insights into L&D
Hopefully, the next few posts on this blog will offer some insights into the basics of L&D. They should help you get up-to-speed swiftly with the industry’s key issues. They could also act as a useful aid-memoir for experienced L&D professionals who might like the occasional reminder of how to identify the ‘wood’ from the ‘trees’.
At Engage in Learning, our aim is to put you, our customer, in the driver’s seat, so we’re constantly creating new features – like our in-course editor and multi-language capability. Let our combination of engaging courses, innovative technology and great support help to make your eLearning journey a success.
*Find us on Stand H05 at Learning Technologies on 13th and 14th February at ExCel, London.