Three post-pandemic ideas for L&D professionals towards 2025
Updated: Feb 9
How should you evolve as an L&D professional to better serve your “audience” in this post-pandemic era?
66% of L&D professionals agree that their function has become a much more strategic part of the organizations, according to LinkedIn Learning's report on "Leading with Learning".
Are you becoming more strategic?
Read here how Dickson Tang, an author and keynote speaker on creative leadership, believes there are 3 strategic ideas you can embrace as an L&D professional from now till 2025.
#1: L&D to focus on the “Both… and” mindset
Traditionally, business professionals are “trained” to make a decision based on a choice. For example, if you are a CEO or a department head, you have to make a strategic choice between option A, option B, or option C. You choose out of multiple options (an “either.. or” mindset). This was true for the L&D professionals too.
Before the pandemic in 2020, L&D professionals categorized learning between “online” eLearning vs “face-to-face”.
During the pandemic, almost 100% of “face-to-face” learning was shifted into an “online'” eLearning format.
Nowadays, while we are optimistic that the pandemic will be under control, we recognize that uncertainty is the new normal. In this context, L&D professionals need to embrace a “Both.. and” mindset (not “either.. or” mindset).
That means we have to design and arrange learning in both “online” and “face-to-face” formats. We have to do “both” at the same time. It is not a matter of arranging either “online” or “face-to-face” learning.
It is about doing both while being flexible to switch from one format to another on short notice. For example, when a country starts loosening its people's movement restrictions, it represents a window opportunity to conduct face-to-face learning sessions.
However, when a country’s pandemic situation turns bad, L&D professionals need to switch the learning format to “online” quickly. In some situations, it may even make more sense to design and arrange hybrid (online and face-to-face) learning permanently, as a dispersed workforce becomes the new norm. Video eLearning courses based on microlearning have the potential to achieve this hybrid learning format in an easy to set up, consistent and cost-effective way.
#2: L&D to focus on developing “problem-solving”
According to World Economic Forum research on the "Top 10 skills of 2025", 4 of them are related to problem-solving. The 4 skills are:
Analytical thinking and innovation
Critical thinking and analysis
Creativity, originality, and initiative
What does this mean to L&D professionals?
It means that L&D professionals need to shift the focus from offering "learning” initiatives to offering "problem-solving" initiatives.
If you are involved in soft or functional skill development, see if you can incorporate problem-solving initiatives. For example, instead of only organizing learning programs around "digital marketing" or getting participants to take up online courses, try to organize a corporate challenge event getting participants to solve a marketing or customer acquisition problem. If you are involved in technical skill development, see if you can incorporate experiential problem solving for the participants as part of their learning.
For example, instead of teaching the engineers how to measure water density, get
them to build a water raft using various materials to cross a river or get them to "feel the buoyancy" through an augmented reality (AR) machine.
Integrate problem-solving to your learning initiatives, as problem-solving is increasingly becoming a significant skill towards 2025.
Encourage your participants to capture and document the problem-solving process, whether it is about addressing a digital marketing problem or tackling an engineering challenge, through video filming. This helps the learners capture the learning and problem-solving experience and facilitates peer sharing, motivating more people to do problem-solving as a result. A video eLearning platform can be the perfect tool to document, publish, distribute, get feedback, and follow up on this problem-solving process.
#3: L&D to focus on curating "IDEAS"
Traditionally the focus of L&D was on skills development. However, in this uncertain “new normal”, skills are getting obsolete fast and the ability to adapt is increasingly important. In order to get people to change and to think out of the box, L&D professionals need to bring “ideas & inspirations” to the audience.
One way to bring “ideas & inspirations” alive is to get an external expert to share stories and ideas. Preferably, get someone outside of your typical industry, as this sparks fresh perspectives.
For example, if you are in engineering, get a bird-watching enthusiast or an expert in ornithology (a branch of zoology that studies birds) to have a dialogue session or seminar talk.
Why getting a bird expert to talk to engineers?
Do you know that the design and engineering breakthrough of Japan's bullet train (Shinkansen) was inspired by a particular type of bird called kingfisher? Another example. If you are organizing an internal conference for your HR/talent team, reserve a session for a copywriter from the advertising industry or a consumer goods marketing executive to come and talk to your team.
Why getting someone from copywriting or marketing to talk to HR?
Have you heard of this saying that “The new HR is marketing”?
If one of your L&D priorities is to create differentiation in the marketplace through people and culture, you have to do something to bring new ideas and inspirations to your people. As a supplement introducing short, microlearning video courses to your team about different topics can be a great way to incentivize ideas, inspire solutions, and overall boost the creativity within the team.
In summary, L&D is getting increasingly strategic in an organization’s development. An L&D professional needs to be open-minded and flexible in this uncertain new normal. How to do that? By embracing a “Both…and” mindset, incorporating problem-solving into L&D initiatives, and bringing in more ideas & inspirations to the organization.
About Dickson Tang
Dickson Tang is an author and keynote speaker on creative leadership. He helps organizations develop creative human capital through virtual speaking, facilitation, and coaching.
His book "Leadership for future of work: 9 ways to build career edge over robots with human creativity" was featured in Forbes, Irish Tech News, etc. Dickson works with people from Cartier, CITIC Telecom, JVC Kenwood, Menicon, Montblanc, Novartis, Rakuten, and many more. He is based in Singapore. To find out more about Dickson, check out www.dicksontang.me
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