Over the past ten years or so, corporate training platform has gone through immense evolution. It no longer incorporates training employees in specific areas to boost productivity. Currently, learning and development include several aspects that can lead to the end-to-end development of the workforce. L&D includes fields such as soft skills training, diversity, inclusion, behavioural change, and mindset transformation, among others.
Therefore, if you plan to start a career in workplace learning, you need to be aware of these recent trends. Not only do you need to have a sound knowledge of the technical aspects, but you should also know about the basics of human psychology, digital technologies and tools, and change management. Additionally, the salary range for learning experts is impressive. Career growth opportunities in learning and development are also excellent. Then, why should you not consider a career in workplace learning? Let’s dive right in!
As per a report by the World Economic Forum, “Without the right competencies, innovation and customer service suffer, with 79% of global CEOs saying they’re ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned about the availability of the right capabilities.” What does this mean? Well, learning and development are fundamental to every organisation’s sustained growth and success.
And a career in workplace learning and development can make you an essential part of the company’s growth journey. Additionally, the World Economic Forum also reports that “closing the skills gap through learning and development could add $11.5 trillion to the world’s GDP by 2028.” These are the reasons why learning professionals need to acquire skills that can help them in the future. Moreover, it will enable them to promote large-scale employee development across companies.
A Career in Workplace Learning in 2021
A career in workplace learning demands the right amalgamation of hard and soft skills. Here are some of the soft skills needed by an L&D professional.
- Empathy While Handling Clients
Usually, learning professionals need to identify the exact needs of their clients — who can be interns, departments, or senior employees. In such cases, the L&D official must empathise with the client and understand his/her learning needs. When one can entwine conversations with empathy, one can gauge the gap and problem areas. A genuine, empathetic trait can help you modify your training strategies and create a specific, personalised program for these sales reps.
- Communication Skills
Communication skills are an inevitable trait to be acquired by learning experts. They must regularly communicate with various stakeholders across the organisation to identify upskilling requirements, buy-in information, and roadblocks. Moreover, they must also pinpoint skill gaps and discuss their respective redressals. In short, to have a successful career in workplace learning, experts must have the zeal to hold meaningful conversations about critical issues. What’s more? When you have a diverse and multigenerational workforce, you also need to adapt to different attitudes, perspectives, and approaches. These are all real-world situations in the increasingly diverse workplace, and needless to say, communication skills are imperative.
Resolving conflicts is another vital issue that needs to be handled by L&D pros. And for this, teamwork is essential. When employees have to find common ground with stakeholders with conflicting interests, you would have to step in and resolve the issue as a learning and development manager. You will also need to step in and prioritise things. In short, teamwork is an integral part of designing employee development strategies. It is only by working with multiple stakeholders that you can formulate a learning plan that addresses every business need and the employee’s targets.
Since a career in workplace learning is a rapidly evolving field, experts have to keep up with the changes. Dealing with change can include deploying a learning management system (LMS), promoting mobile learning, encouraging self-learning for career progress, and introducing a learning experience platform (LXP). Even learners have evolved in terms of their knowledge requirements. Beyond just job-related training, employees are now eager to obtain cross-disciplinary skills and strengthen their employability. So, as a learning and development professional, you must understand and guide learners/organisations through these change waves. Only then you will be able to maximise the outcome from each new opportunity.
Having a strategic mindset is one of the most sought-after soft skill requirements for any professional today. Foresight enables you to assess past patterns and predict how your ongoing learning strategies could work out in the future. It will allow you to anticipate roadblocks on the way and deploy preventive/corrective actions if required. Foresight goes hand in hand with strategic vision so that you can take the appropriate curative action.
Next, you also need the necessary hard skills to execute your learning vision effectively. Here are the four crucial hard skills to nurture a career in workplace learning.
- Instructional Design
Instructional design is a foundational requirement for aspiring learning and development professionals. And it continues to be highly relevant, especially in the early stages of your career. With skills in Instructional Design, you can conceptualise, create, and deliver products or experiences that inform the learner. This complex skill spans instructional videos, infographics, PowerPoint presentations, animations, and a host of other visual formats. There are several models and industry standards for instructional design and platforms geared to generate instructional content. This skill is also commonly known as e-learning authoring.
- Adult Learning Technologies
Adult learning technology is a rapidly growing market, with several learning channels for you to choose from. Investing in the right track can be game-changing for companies looking to upskill/reskill their workforces within a short period. Understanding adult learning technologies, how they work, their pros and cons, and implementation processes can help you further your learning and development career. Some of the most popular adult learning technologies in use today include open-source/paid learning management software, blended learning (which has a human element), micro-credentials, incentivised learning via digital badges. Learning experts must know all about these possibilities and shape the best-fit technology roadmap for workforce development.
- Human Behavioural Science
While communication and teamwork may appear to be enough, the know-how of behavioural science and how it applies to human development is essential. A successful career in workplace learning is determined heavily by neuroscience and behavioural science. Traits such as attention span, memory formation, and personal habits play a critical role in how human beings imbibe and retain knowledge. Applying behavioural science theory can help employees overcome the forgetting curve and make sure that their learning investments yield the desired results.
Apart from neuroscience, there is a specific field called the science of learning and development, which offers valuable insights into the learning process across various stages of an employee’s personal and professional development. This skill with roots in psychology can help you outline effective strategies that factor in the human variance in learning experiences – particularly useful when combined with the study of adult learning technologies.
- KPI Management
Learning KPI management is a branch of business analysis and basic data science, which equips L&D professionals to monitor, measure, and track key performance indicators (KPIs). Learning KPIs can vary widely from company to company, even from one team to another. Hard skills in learning data management and KPI analysis will help to pinpoint the most relevant indices to measure learning progress. Skills in KPI Management are a handy tool as you nurture your learning and development career. You can use KPI dashboards to guide learning strategies for the organisation in the right direction and secure buy-in from senior leadership.
Having the right skill sets and meeting the requisite eligibility criteria, forging meaningful relationships with industry peers can also give you a push in your career in workplace learning. Fortunately, our experts at PlayAblo offer you an excellent chance to help to exchange ideas with the world’s leading learning professionals!