The changing role of L&D: from “packaging” to “scaffolding” plus “social capability building”

I have been been talking to a number of different organisations recently about the future of the L&D department and in doing so have been building on the diagram I shared in a recent post - where I illustrated how the function of the department is expanding into the new areas of performance support, as well as supporting social collaboration and personal learning.

packageI think there are a number of additional factors involved which are not that clear in that diagram – and that is how the future is about moving on from a focus on organizing others’ learning by “packaging” up lots of content, delivering it to them “on a plate”, and then managing access to it all.

scaffoldRather the future is going to be more about “scaffolding“.  I mean by this, working in partnership with the relevant team or group in the organization to help to provide a framework – ie the infrastructure (platforms, tools etc) as well as the right conditions for learning and performance support and improvement to take place.

And furthermore, rather than trying to design, create, deliver or even “control” what happens there, there is also a need for a focus on “building the new personal and social capabilities” that are are going to be required by the new “connected workers”, in order for them to work and learn effectively in the digitally connected workplace

So I’d like to share with you another diagram I have been working on, to show what all this means in practice. Behind each of the coloured areas there is obviously much more detail, illustrated by case studies and examples – which I’ll talk more about in subsequent posts. But in the meantime if you are interested in the area of social capability building, take  a look at the Connected Worker site.

soccap

Follow-up posts

2 - Towards the Connected L&D Department

3 - Instructional design: from “packaging” to “scaffolding”

4 - Supporting self-managed team learning in the organisation

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Jane Hart

Founder at C4LPT
Jane Hart is an independent Workplace Learning Advisor, Writer and International Speaker. Every year she compiles the Top 100 Tools for Learning activity. She also offer a number of online workshops on modernising workplace learning. Find out more about Jane and her work.

46 thoughts on “The changing role of L&D: from “packaging” to “scaffolding” plus “social capability building”

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  8. Stephen Lowe

    This really is a very useful diagram, thank you. We’re just entering this corporate training market and have little interest in creating packaged materials. What we are interested in is working with people to empower them, and to share with them our enthusiasm for lifelong self-directed self-regulated learning.

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  15. Emma

    Do you know of anyone who is using these concepts in public communications rather than in-house L&D? PIOs often need to educate the public in order to open the door for social change — I’d love to hear about anyone taking this into the social arena.

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  20. svuillau

    L&D is certainly more & more expected to become the Architect & Operator of the company & employees learning Ecosystem

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  23. Jan Nieuweboer

    Great post! I have quickly started to transpose our efforts in this framework. Doing so, I see a possible improvement or at least a different perspective on scaffolding for training/e-learning. The description is imho a bit too social in nature. it is very similar to scaffolding for social collaboration in combination with scaffolding for CPD.
    A different way of looking at it would be to allow employees or teams to choose from a set of preferred suppliers to work with in the arena of training/e-learning. We are actually doing this; supporting teams that want to design and build their own training by making great suppliers easily available.
    Based on this rationale, Capability Building would need a different description too. Something like “building new educational (technology) skills”. Think of learning how to design and develop serious games or MOOCs. I am sure many people don’t understand those concepts yet (!)

    1. Jane Hart

      Hi Jan, thanks for your valuable comments. Just in case it isn’t clear, my chart above intends to show that it is much more than locating training. Social collaboration for instance, is about helping individuals share their knowledge as they go about their daily work – and might involve helping them find them find the right tools etc to do so. In this context, although for many “sharing knowledge and experiences” will be second nature, others will need to acquire a new set of PKM and social workplace skills to work effectively – hence the Capability building aspect. The Workshops in the Connected Worker site provide more detail on what those skills might involve. http://www.connectedworker.co.uk

      1. Bill James-Wallace

        Just beginning to bring this concept to where I work. The barriers are significant but mostly in the mind. Hopefully an enjoyable (and not too frustrating) challenge coming up to help re-fit how we develop learning in our organisation. Being quite a conservative and regulated company this may be a bit of a plod, until they (we) get it. :)

  24. Scott Hewitt

    Interested model. I really like the idea of pick and mix learning, allowing learners to create their own learning ‘courses’. If you are at home and you need to solve a problem you might download a pdf, youtube video and look at a website – essentially creating your own mini course. If you need more information or peer review you’ll dip into a forum or tweet. Within the workplace we need to offer choice for our learners.

    1. Jane Hart

      Thanks Scott. But it’s not so much about “letting learners create their own courses”, it’s about helping them share their knowledge and experiences with one another (in their teams etc) as an integral part of doing their daily works/job. It’s also about helping them find the best way to develop themselves – whether it be taking some training/online course – or just connecting with others and receiving a continuous stream of news and information to update their existing knowledge.

      1. Scott Hewitt

        Thanks for the clarification. You could apply this thinking across any part of a business. I’ve been involved in business improvement projects so I’m interested in this area – I’ve just read the book re-work by Jason Fried. Some interesting concepts in his book.

        Thanks for sharing for your ideas,

        Scott

  25. David Salusbury

    Yes and No.
    There is still a place for all these elements–packages and very spaced scaffolds…
    Highly technical training (how to close down the reactor) is not a willy-nilly-let’s-talk training; however, attitudinal management IS more interactive and mentor-appropriate.

    We just need to be aware that one size no longer fits all (and it never really did)!

    David S
    Learning Division
    Shared Services Canada

    1. Jane Hart

      Agreed! That’s what the chart aims to show – that there’s still a need for “packaging” some courses and resources. But there’s also an opportunity for L&D to start thinking about “scaffolding training” (similar to the workshops we have been running at the Social Learning Centre, where there is a social constructivist approach) AS WELL AS supporting the real learning in the workplace, ie where it happens as a natural, continuous and integral part of work (people doing their jobs) – by sharing their own knowledge, experiences and resources. The argument is actually more than one size doesn’t fit all! It’s about L&D diversifying their activities so that they don’t get shut down as f2f training goes out of fashion, and e-learning is outsourced to external providers. This is happening on a daily basis.

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  35. claire kelly

    Question please: What Social Media platforms do you recommend work best for learning in collaboration please? And any tips on setting these collaboration groups up?
    Thank you.

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