What skills are needed by L&D professionals in 2017?

Written by Gent Ahmetaj on 15 February 2017 in Features

From the last day of LTUK17, Gent Ahmetaj reports on Clive Shepherd’s discussion on skills for L&D people   

How can you remain relevant and, more importantly, competent, when faced with an avalanche of constant change? While shifts happen slowly and incrementally within the world of L&D, outside change is moving fast and this contrast creates anxiety for L&D professionals looking at the future of their role within the organisation.

More features 

How can you stay current in your field when work, jobs and even professions are constantly changing?

How can L&D use technology to become more strategic?

How to create effective learning transfer

How can we create organisational change that works and even feels good?

How do we tackle changes in learning behaviour due to technology? Pragmatism, in the words of Clive Shepherd, might be the answer. It entails not succumbing to shiny solutions when looking for the solution to a problem.

  1. A good L&D professional creates events for learners to solve problems, a skilful one embeds a process through which learners are taken on a journey, whether that is experiential, formal, or social. There is a difference.

This includes being realistic and acknowledging the fact that learning is messy and uncomfortable, it stretches and stresses your world-view and challenges your perceptions. Knowing how to manoeuvre through the process and ask questions when your knowledge is lacking is paramount.  

  1. If anything would be orbiting a skilful L&D professional it would be people skills and it includes interacting with stakeholders, learners, and the media.1

Being able to approach a learning process holistically includes interacting with several actors simultaneously. For learning to be developmental, L&D professionals must be able to create connections not transactions.

  1. You cannot be a technophobic L&D professional; you’ll be a living paradox.

While it is cool to be old school, ignoring technological advances and the opportunities that come with it means you are old school without being cool. As an L&D professional, you do not want to be in that position. Although focusing on technology misses the point, not being aware of what is out there means you lack a key skill – curiosity.

During the exchange, there were some great top tips from our participants too.

  • Remember that as an L&D professional you are still a learner.
  • Be brave and confident when addressing senior management, do not be afraid to ask questions.
  • An event won’t fix a business problem, a process will.


  1. http://clive-shepherd.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/the-changing-skill-set-of-l...


Find out more about Clive Shepherd at: http://clive-shepherd.blogspot.co.uk follow @cliveshepherd
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cliveshepherd/

About the exchange programme:

The LT Exchange is a free opportunity to have round table discussions with some of the world’s most influential learning sector thought-leaders - and is available to all L&D practitioners visiting the Learning Technologies exhibition.

A collaboration between Learning Technologies and Towards Maturity, the Exchanges programme was launched in 2011 with the aim to share effective practice, thought leadership and stimulate innovation in L&D.

This year, the Learning Technologies Exchanges was co-hosted with Training Journal and tackled the practical issues facing today’s L&D leaders: supporting change, leveraging networks, mobile learning, micro learning and how to get ahead with technology in 2017.   


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