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  • Szilvia Olah

The Damage L&D Can Cause is Sometimes Irreversible

Updated: Oct 1

We all know the headlines "Corporate training is failing." Then we have the general points of why:

- One-size-fits-all approach

- No time

- Training is completed outside of working hours

- Lack of interest or motivation to learn

- Information overload

- Content is disconnected from the real world

- Employees are told what to learn

- Misaligned organizational priorities and individuals development needs

Etc.... All that and more.


However, nobody ever talks about the suitability of L&D professionals. Most are unqualified and just fell into these roles because they were in HR or Departmental Trainers at some point. Some might just like facilitating. But, L&D requires a high level of education, just like teachers, as we need to understand how people learn (Not talking about learning styles) and, in line with that, how to design content. I will give you an example to illustrate how important it is. I was talking to a colleague yesterday who told me that out of 20 people, 2 or 3 managed to pass the exam for one of the courses the team designed. Now that is an obvious indication of a poorly designed or delivered training. L&D needs to be able to create learning strategies, design e-learning content and be able to facilitate it in a way that suits every participant. We must be able to push back, negotiate, and influence leaders, managers, and supervisors. We must be able to relate to entry-level workers and connect them with learning content in a way that makes sense to them. L&D also must be able to coach people from top to bottom of the organization.


Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most of the time, L&D "professionals" are good or bad facilitators of a good or bad training. They are not qualified to design, facilitate, and coach. Most of the time, nobody listens to them and development activities become a joke or a nice way to spend a few hours. I know L&D leaders who never read an article or a book. They have no idea if you ask them about the latest updates in the world of learning or L&D.


So, what does one have to do if unqualified for the role?


We have to devalue the job to the point where we feel comfortable inhibiting it, and that's a serious problem.

What does this look like? Clapping, dancing, yoga, writing chorus and singing like choir boys during Sunday church or playing games.


But enough of happy clapping and being an entertainer. We have a serious duty and roles to feel. People want real help in areas that are important and relevant to them. They may need coaching, training, consulting, or just straightforward told what they need to do. Sometimes people have no idea what they are supposed to do in the role they occupy. Sometimes they need guidance on developing specific skills, but they don't need L&D to organize that for them. In some cases, they need a practical solution to their problem, not a ride on a merry-go-round of theories.


Enough of L&D being looked at as cost, nuance, something that must be completed etc... I recently took over another hotel, and one day one participant said coming to the session, "Let's get this over with." I wasn't even upset with the person, I was concerned with the previous L&D for building such a learning culture where people completely dismiss what we are about.


L&D has a crucial role in people's development. Unfortunately, it is not being taken seriously. So, stop dancing around in the name of learning and show the people what we are about.



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