L&D Global Sentiment Survey 2017 – the key messages

L&D Global Sentiment Survey Resized

A recognised commentator and organiser in the fields of workplace learning and learning technologies, Donald Taylor is passionately committed to helping develop the learning and development profession.

For the past 4 years Donald Taylor has surveyed L&D professionals globally to develop a richer perspective on trends within L&D and his latest survey has one golden question we all want to know:

‘What do you think will be hot in L&D this year?’

The results:

The report considers the overall results, the split of votes across different regions, and trends that have developed since the report began in 2014. It goes on to reach these three conclusions:

  1. Social goes mainstream
    For the first time,personalization/adaptive delivery topped the table, pushing collaborative/social learning into second place. This is a continuation of a trend that began in 2015, and is most likely the result of the L&D function growing convinced that collaborative learning is an essential part of L&D’s role. This makes it less ‘hot’ than personalization, which is probably hotter than ever thanks to the possibilities offered by algorithms and artificial intelligence.
  2. Technological controversy
    Micro learning is more popular, and more widely recognised, this year than last. That does not mean it is well defined, understood or implemented, so expect both more talk and controversy about micro learning. VR, AR and AI all featured highly. None of these are mature enough yet to impact mainstream enterprise L&D in 2017, but they will continue to be the subject of intense speculation.
  3. L&D aims to be business-focused
    The Other option attracted a number of business-focused answers, while consulting more deeply with the business and showing value both featured well on the survey results. This might suggest that L&D wants a greater involvement with the business. The catch: no evidence that L&D departments have the necessary skills for this, and developing the L&D function has slumped from 7th position in 2015 to 13th position in 2017. Perhaps the L&D profession has ambitions it is unable to fulfil.

Take the challenge to be more business-focused

For me the interesting results are numbers 5 – consulting more deeply with the business and 6 – showing more value.

Without a deeper understanding of the business how can L&D be confident that any solutions, technology or delivery approaches are right for their business. How can you personalise delivery without knowing the business personality?

The challenge then for L&D is how do they achieve this when this requires a different skill set than typically used to. L&D need to develop a broader scope of thinking, considering operational and communication elements to identify and develop solutions.

Furthermore, the conversations with the business may become challenging to discover the real issue. Something the business may not be expecting or accepting off.

All of this is required whilst learning professionals develop and maintain the L&D brand within the business, wrestle with learning technologies, understand 70/20/10 implications, support employees with self-directed learning and comprehend the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy – a lot to juggle.

Reduce the overwhelm and be a successful L&D juggler?

Take some time, breathe.

Map out your priorities, review your workload and resources. Outsource any appropriate tasks if you can and bring your focus and clarity back to being more business focussed.

Identify any gaps to upskill yourself as an L&D professional and go forth and engage more deeply with your business.

Ready to consult more with the business

See your learners as internal customers and get to know them more:

  • Understand your business – products, services, major markets, significant events.
  • Know your key demographics – what’s the split with Baby Boomers, Millennials and the Centennials
  • Map your people – who are the key people in your business; the roles they plan, their adaptability to change (laggards to innovators), how L&D are positioned (individually and/or as a department) and the level of contact you have with them
  • Create a contact strategy – with objectives, alignments and key messages

Acting as an L&D consultant, creating customer plans and regularly reviewing is a key step to knowing your customer, to gain the deeper understanding that you require.

Exciting times for L&D – Good luck!

Have a read of the full report – L&D Global Sentiment Survey 2017