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Don't Make Training Mandatory, Make Competence Mandatory - The Future of Learning & Development

Somebody asked me the other day about how I see the future of L&D. I replied; Don't make training mandatory, make competence mandatory. Provide or direct people to available resources and let them figure out how they can best obtain the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviour. All you have to do is assess them on it. The future of L&D is to teach people where to find information, analyse it, extract meaning, and apply that to a specific context. Basically, we need to teach people to think for themselves. Why? Well, where shall I start?

We Are Independent

In the past, L&D was primarily the responsibility of the employer. However, in the future, individuals will have ownership over their own learning and development which is great! You don't want people in your organisations who are passive and just moan about, "Nobody is giving me feedback", "Nobody is teaching me" or "Nobody is talking about my career development".

What do employees say today? "We no longer need to be dragged into classroom training and spoon-fed knowledge. We no longer need to be told this is what & how we learn. During induction, we no longer want to be told about how to behave, the culture, and the company's history. Let us experience the culture through your behaviour and tell you what we think your culture is. We no longer want to be told to follow a particular leadership framework or program. We want to understand ourselves and lead based on that."

How to do induction differently article click here.

The new generation will not outsource their learning. They will take charge because they have all the resources available, but most importantly, they know how they learn best and what they consider quality and relatable content. Technology gives them an instant answer to most of their questions. Now, of course, here we mustn't compare a simple "how-to" question about an Excel formula one can look up on TikTok with cabin crew training. Some learning and training will remain facilitator-led because of Health & Safety or other aspects that are critical to the job. But that will be maybe 5% of all L&D interventions.

Use of Technology for Technical "Know-How"

Technology has already significantly transformed how we learn and work, and this trend will continue. In particular, technology will play a critical role in providing technical "know-how" to individuals. With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, individuals will need to constantly update their technical skills to stay relevant in the workforce.

The reinforcement of such learning is done in the flow of work by the direct line manager or supervisor. L&D's job is to ensure that line managers provide on-the-job skill and knowledge assessment and course correct if needed to allow employees to perform.

Coaching and Mentoring for Leadership Development

Finally, coaching and mentoring will be increasingly important in developing leadership skills. We will move away from pre-prescribed leadership workshops and frameworks and focus and build soft skill development on the individuals' unique talent. As organisations become more complex, leaders will need to have strong self-awareness, interpersonal skills, and the ability to navigate complex relationships.

Coaching and mentoring provide opportunities for individuals to receive personalised feedback and guidance on their leadership skills. This can help them identify areas for improvement, develop a plan for growth, and receive ongoing support and feedback as they work towards their goals together with their coach or mentor. They might attend courses or workshops but those will be in line with their individual needs as opposed to company-designed one-size-applied-to-all.

In conclusion, the future of learning and development is bright, with individuals taking ownership over their own development, technology providing access to technical know-how, and coaching and mentoring supporting leadership development. As individuals and organisations adapt to the changing landscape, L&D will continue to be a critical component of success in the workplace.

If you want us to help you reshape your approach to L&D to a more modern one, drop us an email:

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