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L&D – “free-ride” or a partner in the journey?

By Zureks (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Zureks (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

People can’t help but learn from their experiences. It’s impossible not to learn from them. However, what people learn from their experiences is largely within their own control. How they apply their learning is largely their choice.

So I wonder could L&D be getting a “free ride” in thinking that…

…the analysis of “needs” is the goal or measure of success.

…the delivery of “learning” is the goal or measure of success.

…the receipt  of “learning” is the goal or measure of success.

…the immediate impact of “learning” is the goal or measure of success.

You see that’s a lot of what L&D seems to be talking about, especially on social media. That’s not L&D to my mind. As much as such activities may be necessary or incredibly useful, at best they are just the stimulus for what comes next…

…the larger more difficult part of L&D;

…the real goal or measure of success of L&D;

…the purpose of L&D.

What comes next should be helping people apply their learning, skills and behaviours. That is the real work of L&D.

You won’t see it fulfilled in the classroom or even at the away day. In fact you often can’t even control the environments or contexts which people face. It’s challenging. So it should be. That’s what it means to be a partner helping people (and yourself) learn and develop.

If you’re not truly doing that and you call yourself L&D then I wonder are you on a bit of a “free ride”?


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