‘Stop spoon-feeding L&D’, says ex-BBC human resources director

Lucy Adams, former HR director of the BBC, has spoken out about the importance of L&D moving into a new area of self-sufficiency.

During a panel discussion at the recent Rakuten Future Forum conference in London, Adams joined some of Europe’s most innovative business minds to explain how HR and training professionals could benefit from a fundamental shift to teaching new skills, what it needs to do that and why it is urgent. 

In an exclusive interview with Executive Grapevine, she said: “What we will see is a complete undermining of the traditional learning and development we have today. Billions of dollars are spent on training and development in the US every year, only to have 80 per cent of it forgotten in just 30 days.

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“We have wasted a fortune by spoon-feeding ‘one size fits all’ to passive participants. What we need to see now is a development of people’s capability to be resourceful. So, for example, stimulating curiosity and setting standards to open them up to a level of information, whilst equipping them with the skills so that they can go and learn it for themselves.

“So, for example, if you look at organisations like BP, they have a dramatic training budget. And the time has come to now think about the different styles of learning, contextualised learning, and just-in-time learning. I saw a brilliant presentation which explained how we are actually moving away from the idea of me as the guru, teacher or trainer who is just telling you something. The model is now the equivalent of Google Maps, just there to tell us where to go at the point we need that specific information.

“I think we will see a dismantling of this idea where we put people in training programmes all at the same level. We are clearly not learning in the same way. The future will be completely different; with adult-to-adult training that is customised and based on our style. This will give us the ability to follow a path that works for us.”

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