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What the World of Learning taught me

Posted by: Emma Upton
My colleague, Ash McDonagh, and I went to the World of Learning Conference at Birmingham's NEC on Wednesday. This was my first such event and it taught me a lot - mainly that there's a lot to learn!

There were an array of products on display; who'd have thought so many business ideas could spawn from an oft-overlooked area of HR. Amongst the wares on offer were software to record what training is required in your organisation, software to record when training takes place and who attends, software to record the outcomes of training... And, of course, there was software to help you conduct the training sessions themselves.

This got me thinking. Could it be argued that, with the increased emphasis on e-learning, the age of the classroom trainer is past us?

A number of the presentations at the WoL conference focused on the future of learning. According to the experts, it looks bitesize, integrated, social and collaborative. Day long 'chalk and talk' training sessions are, according to consensus, behind us. Training needs to be in the moment and interactive. So what does the future look like for the L&D professional?

Before I embarked on my L&D career, I thought a trainer designed sessions and delivered them. The strategic element of the role wasn’t immediately apparent, but this is the most important element, and the future, of the role. L&D professionals are required to partner their business and assess what training, e-learning or otherwise, is required. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ for companies because, when it comes to training, every company has its own objectives. It’s all very well to create a social, integrated, bitesize, collaborative training plan, but if it doesn’t meet what the business requires then it’s useless. And that can sometimes be the issue with e-learning software provided by an external company. How can an outsider possibly know the needs of the business and each individual within it as well as a committed employee who spends their working life living with the company’s culture and visions?

So L&D is evolving and we all need to keep up. It’s an exciting time to be in the industry as there’s a wealth of resources on offer to support us as we do our job. The trick is picking the right ones. And as for the classroom trainer? I still think there’s few things as good for educating, team building and collaboration as an interactive training room session!
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