The Olympic torch of future training: 5 emerging roles for L&D professionals


The 2018 Winter Games are underway. The ceremony this year welcomed athletes from around the world with the usual pomp and circumstance. Everyone proudly waved their nation’s flag, their official uniforms. Years of preparation, concentration and hard work have enabled these people to arrive in South Korea with pride and pride; their efforts, their dedication…They are an inspiration to us.

These Games are also a fantastic example of the vital role played by training in the lives of those who pursue excellence in a given field. Whatever field it may be. Ski slope, ice rink or…the Corporate Training and Development team.

You may not win gold this year with your contributions, but what you can certainly do is win the minds and respect of your colleagues, learners, as well as Board members. The challenges are many, but like any athlete in training you can overcome them by adapting, becoming more agile, more flexible.

But there’s a wind of change

Needless to say, the world of corporate e-learning is rapidly changing. The Digital Revolution is imposing its parameters with increasing speed. How can you weather the storm of change, embracing the transformations imposed by technology while simultaneously transforming your work culture?

By looking at your role and that of your L&D team colleagues with fresh eyes.

Here are the five new profiles of the training specialists of the future, through the expert eye of Samantha Lang, Senior Marketing Communications Manager for Litmos.

Today, in order to build an Olympic-quality L&D dream team, you need to be aware of and pay close attention to some emerging roles. New professions. New figures. As well as, last but not least, identifying who in your department could best address them. Under consideration is not a single factor, but several. A winning training strategy may require widespread care and intervention across several departments. Although you will have to impersonate various roles and link different tasks in this phase of major change, do not be frightened. You will improve, you will grow, you will progressively change your approach to meet the needs imposed by the new “knowledge place.”

5 emerging roles for progressive L&D:

  1. Connected Community Cultivator. We are social animals. We come together in community in almost any field of being. In community and togetherness we affirm ourselves as human beings, and education is no exception in this universal truth. Today’s L&D professionals are individuals who can drive opportunities to build concrete learning communities. Whether strategically leveraging the LMS or other technological tools, continuous employee learning appears to be the key to profit for the company of the future. Indeed, customers and partners benefit immediately from an interactive training/coaching environment. Communities are also found to be highly functional with regard to the tendency to “engage and not force.” It is by doing so that students can proactively seek out new information-both formal and informal-and continue to broaden their awareness of their own work, the special characteristics of their colleagues and the organization in which they work. Also of the newest generation is the term “learning concierge”-a more than apt metaphor for framing the many aspects of this new role.
  2. Content Curation Guru. L&D professionals can officially stop constantly chasing the concept of creating content from scratch, almost as if it were a must…If the content exists, is of high quality, and is engaging, why create it again? As we have advised many times, one must be able to take advantage of the excellent content libraries available (such as Litmos Heroes), thus saving a considerable amount of time and effort. Contextually, a fine skill in curating existing materials will be exceedingly required, first assessing their relevance and validity, and then making them usable and affordable to those who need them. (For further information: “Seven Ways to Get Your Content Curation Groove On,” “Five Ways Your Content Creation Can Win the Day,”  e “The Push toward Content Curation.”)
  3. Strategic Business Whiz. Given that more and more companies want to implement increasingly effective interconnections between training and performance results, it is beyond necessary to hone your analytical skills as well as acquire a business-oriented mindset. Moreover, the more you can link your performance to business metrics, the more you will be able not only to show your value in general, but also to bring a concrete plus to your organization. Here, then, is the emergence of the “strategic business wizard.” Many L&D professionals have often ignored this role, precisely by virtue of the fact that we did not have the proper tools or technology for tracking results. Today, it is instead imperative to understand the needs of the business and the implementation of strategic synergies across departments.
  4. Budget and its holders. Most training professionals turn their noses up at the idea of having to “sell” their programs, but to this there is really no alternative solution. Where you actually want to increase your budget through training, you need to know how to sell the invaluable value it inevitably holds even at high levels. The Digital Era imposes a life-learning program on just about everyone. It is essential to have the support of Management for the proper dissemination of the importance of interactive and effective corporate training. Only by gaining the confidence of the Board will you effectively be able to assist in the creation of a “culture of training,” where L&D is seen as a vital strategic function that can drive employees and company goals forward.
  5. The invisible man. According to Deloitte, “Invisible is the term we use to describe, nowadays, the vital role of the L&D team: the invisible task of those who masterfully blend education and work. Moving away from the concept of creating content at any cost, making content easily accessible and user-friendly, and visionary foresight (supported by appropriate vendors and tools) are gradually shaping a corporate education system increasingly focused on improving training performance wherever and whenever it is needed.” Although this seems at odds with the newest neologism “education concierge,” it is worth keeping the concept of invisibility in mind. In the world of training hinged on “engaging and not forcing,” L&D professionals no longer need to impersonate the dreaded enforcers of yet another boring training program. Instead, they can play the role of skillful “ghost-teachers,” problem-solvers and effective, now remaining in the background while allowing resources to “serve” as needed. One note: remember NOT to remain invisible when you play the other four roles described above…
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