Perspectives - Ken Taylor



There has never been a question that the role of the learning leader is to improve the performance of the organization by introducing, when necessary, an intervention to change the way employees perform. Similarly, we are also responsible for the performance of our own team, where they focus, what company goals they attempt to impact, what data they track, and what systems they use.

It is common to engage in discussions with those in our profession surrounding “what” programs we need to introduce to solve the problem that we are sure can be solved via training. The good news is that we have come a long way in clearly deciding whether or not training is the answer. Once the analysis is complete and begin to target the performance gaps, learning and development teams focus their efforts on “how” the training is designed and delivered.

There are always heavy discussions around which modality will be the most effective. We see the inclusion of various teaching approaches, content types and platforms into a given program – be it video, instructor led, role play, microlearning or coaching to name a few. I see our focus on “how” beginning to truly change the way we approach the design and content in our programs.  So what’s next?

As part of our role as “leaders” in learning and development, we need to start to introduce the “why” into our discussions. Why are we introducing the program?  Why the instructor is teaching the course may change how the content is delivered. Why the designer is designing the program will influence the nature and structure of the learning, ensuring the input they collect from SMEs is on point and relevant to those who take the training. Why the administrator tracks certain data may influence the approach they take to surveying participants, and that may lead them to introduce multiple methods to check the learner’s reaction to the experience. I really think our next challenge to move the needle on the impact of the programs we support is to start discussing the why.

This edition of Training Industry Magazine takes a look at training in terms of its engagement and alignment to the outcomes we have as an organization.  As you read through this collection of practices and approaches, keep in mind that if we insert more “why” when discussing the initiatives we create or procure, the likelihood of engaging the learner and hitting the performance improvement mark skyrockets.  At least, that’s my perspective.