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L&D Roads Bad? It’s Time to Repair Our Infrastructure!

I’m frustrated! As a Michigander, I hear a lot about the state’s infrastructure and the extensive work needed to improve it. There are crumbling roads, deficient bridges, and congestion plaguing our streets and highways. But what’s really frustrating me are the problems I see with the state of the learning and development (L&D) infrastructure. How are so many organizations ignoring the obstacles that impede how we travel to our L&D destinations?

I see training that’s in need of repairs in order to address the needs of the modern learner, remote workers, virtual teams, and a multigenerational workplace. I see technology advancing at such a fast pace that it’s difficult for employers to keep up. And I see companies where training is nothing more than ticking off a course in a learning management system.

It’s time for a new approach to learning and development. Organizations need to modernize outdated practices, align training to actual business operations, actively engage learners, and evaluate what’s being put out there. And we need to harness the rapid advance of technology to effectively bridge the gap between workers and learning to improve performance and impact business results. With so many options available — e-learning, mobile, social media, augmented reality, virtual reality — organizations have no excuse for failing to modernize their learning and development efforts.

There are many talent development leaders who are looking to put an end to business as usual. They want to do what’s right: create a targeted learning strategy; build learning paths and curricula; develop more performance support; and thoroughly evaluate their efforts. Some are being faced with budget issues, lack of high-level support, and the ever-popular “let’s do it fast” (but not right) mentality.

Doing it fast is simply leading to organizations with a plethora of unfocused, disconnected training options. The highway is just too crowded. The reality is that many of the courses don’t offer the intended value or simply aren’t accessed. Worse yet, they cause employees to travel on learning highways that take them nowhere and leave them frustrated, unmotivated, and disengaged.

Employees pay a high cost when L&D fails, and so do organizations. A lack of management support for L&D can result in poor employee performance, missing or repeated training, and improper diagnosis (neglecting a root cause analysis) of performance issues.

The road to recovery requires more investment in L&D by organizations, effective L&D strategy to achieve business outcomes, accurate assessment of performance issues, and development of engaging learning solutions that target the needs of employees. Let’s do what needs to be done to fix our L&D roads already! Our future requires it for the volume of traffic and the types of destinations on the L&D roads to come.

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