Emerging new roles for learning and performance professionals

Over the last week or so I have been posting about how (I think) the workplace learning landscape is changing.

For me, the biggest shift is not going to be about moving from creating instructional, formal courses to producing informational (or performance support) resources. That’s obviously a very useful first step, but it’s going to require more than that. Rather, it is going to be about recognizing that in this day and age, in order to keep up with the speed of business, we can no longer try and organize and manage everything everyone needs to learn (ie by training or “blending”), so we need think more  about supporting individuals and teams as they organize and manage their own learning and performance needs.  Actually many workers are already doing this, by using their own devices to access tools and resources – often under the radar of L&D and IT! So rather than ignore this fact and hope it will go away, we just need to embrace it.

And as more and more organisations do this, it means we are seeing the emergence of some new “learning and performance professional” roles in the workplace. I’ve highlighted some of them on my diagram below.

Clearly not all learning professionals will need to have all the skills in all the roles, and some may well not have any desire to get involved in some of the new activities, so I think that it may well now be time for people to think about specializing in areas of interest.  This means that those who want to remain as classroom trainers or instructional designers, for instance, can continue to do so; but those who see their future in other areas can begin to focus on developing their skills for these new roles.

Will this mean a fragmentation of the L&D profession?

13 thoughts on “Emerging new roles for learning and performance professionals

  1. mark britz (@britz)

    It’s a brilliant image Jane. And as you note these are roles and not titles – thus people can perform several (if not all). Question though – how do you distinguish the “learning advisor” role?

    1. Jane Hart

      The Learning Advisor role involves a number of aspects including

      • Understanding the way that the individual prefers to learn, formally, informally, socially, 1-1, self-paced, experiential, discovery, etc etc
      • Helping the individual to identify the most appropriate “solution” to his/her learning need, course, mentor, social network, etc etc
      • Advising individuals/teams how to source and manage their own learning and performance needs
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  4. George Holt

    Great diagram, interesting to see how you have defined these critical roles. Also worth noting that roles are not exclusive, this is an open and accessible definition that encourages people to grow their skills. I see this as a great career opportunity. It also helps to dispel the “generic teacher” myth that I think is so limiting.
    I am currently working on a project that has defined some of these roles in similar terms. Thanks for your insight.

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