Ed Monk talks to Debbie Carter about his views on L&D today.
Ed Monk, the CEO of the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), is taking steps to ensure his members keep up to date and are ‘the engines of change’ in their organisations. How does he see the profession changing and how can institutes like the LPI support its members in times of unprecedented change?
Where do you see learning right now?
Learning is everywhere already! During my 20 years at the LPI I have seen the landscape change from one of training to learning, and I see us experiencing an unparalleled interest in learning for all. There are no constraints on how we deliver solutions – people are trying new methods, experimenting with digital, using video and we are finally developing truly blended solutions.
But there is more to learning than just technology; there is now a recognition that learning in any shape or form is desirable – and providing access to that learning is crucial. L&D must harness the desire to learn and turn it into behaviour change that improves business performance.
People are increasingly looking for development opportunities from employers, along with good leadership and culture, and this can only benefit L&D’s position in their organisations.
The LPI is the L&D function for the learning industry and we need to curate and provide the best content learning professionals need
Clearly these new approaches in L&D influence what you do at the LPI. How has your approach changed?
I feel the LPI is effectively the L&D function for the learning industry and we need to curate and provide the best content learning professionals need. We now operate in 39 different countries which brings with it a host of challenges but I like it – it’s exciting.
We are innovating, introducing digital badging, transforming our conference offering and developing new products. We are at the cutting edge of L&D and I’m determined we stay there. We are committed to our mantra – involve, inform and inspire.
The format of your conference, LEARNINGLIVE, has changed dramatically this year. Tell us about the change and why you decided to take such a radically new approach to this event.
LEARNINGLIVE has always been a conference that has led the way; last year the event was a lecture-free zone which was both innovative and incredibly effective. So we are not afraid to shake things up, if we believe it adds value. Having listened to our members, we took the decision to allow heads of learning to register for free this year.
We are doing this because we are genuinely committed to improving learning for as many organisations as we can. If removing financial obstacles for these people helps then, as an institute, we should do so. The response has been incredible. We are already at capacity, with heads of learning from organisations such as NASA, McDonald’s, Tesco and Deutsche Bank attending in September.
How are the changes in the L&D landscape changing perceptions of institutes like the LPI?
Now it’s all about trust. For example after the inauguration of Donald Trump, politically neutral newspapers in the US saw an unprecedented rise in subscriptions which many have put down to readers’ need for unbiased reporting of events.
So, in a similar way, our members see us as a trusted source of information. People value the institute, trusting its content. For example, we curate and provide summaries of the best research data on our site and our click-through numbers show how many members come to the site because they trust us to have the best, and most reliable, research available there for them to access.
We hope this ethos, and practical support, gives our members the skills and behaviours to become the trusted advisers, the engines of change, for their organisations to succeed.
You see six essential roles for L&D to be effective. What are they and how might they change the traditional L&D department?
There are a variety of roles now. When the institute first started in the mid-90s, most members were trainers. Gradually, instructional designers became part of the mix. Now, launching the capability map, we see a variety of roles emerging.
We would recommend to any large or small-to-medium sized organisation that they focus on six roles for a successful L&D offering: a community manager, a performance consultant, a video producer, a data scientist, a content creator and a curator.
These may be separate roles or combined, but they represent a way to future-proof the L&D function. I would love to see the learning and development function change its name to ‘performance’ – it’s more focused around value and impact.
Can you offer three pieces of advice for learning and development professionals today?
Keep yourself at the cutting edge – keep abreast of new developments in research and seek out good materials. Talk to your business – engage with your people. And finally, learn from your peers through networking.
You can read an abridged version of this interview in the August issue of TJ. You can subscribe here.
To find out more about the LPI and its conference, LEARNINGLIVE, visit www.learning-live.com