LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally.
Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.
Rob is a designer through and through who is fascinated by how we learn, what we remember and why we pay attention to certain things. He is a huge enthusiast of all that technology can offer to enhance learning and has completed a huge variety of projects in his 14 year career.
He is the editor and co-author of The Really Useful eLearning Instruction Manual published by Wiley and featuring contributions from the brightest and best elearning minds on both sides of the Atlantic.
by Rob Hubbard
Posted 24 May 2019
We’ve spent nearly 15 years working with large organisations across sectors as diverse as oil and gas, pharma, higher education, healthcare, telecoms, facilities, media, retail and more. Change used to be a lot slower and more predictable; typically driven by mergers, acquisitions and changes in the operating environment. A new competitor might emerge over the course of a few years, or new legislation might be brought in over a period of time.
But that has changed.
Modern organisations are like a pond with multiple pebbles being dropped (and sometimes hurled) in; ripples form, overlap, combine, rebound and subside as new ripples begin - creating complex interference/ change patterns. If you were a leaf on the surface of that pond, it would be a pretty confused environment. You would be pushed this way and that with seemingly little pattern. This is how many employees must now feel; experiencing disruptive change after disruptive change. ‘Change fatigue’ is an increasingly common term. Unfortunately, anyone thinking “I’ll be glad when it all gets back to normal!” will be disappointed – change is the new normal. And here’s why:
I believe much of the turbulence we see today is driven by Moore’s Law – this is the observation that computing processing power doubles every two years. With this ever increasing power for reducing costs; there are more and more innovations and breakthroughs being made. These in turn result in turbulence in the markets due to new products, new services, new processes and new operating models. This turbulence causes organisations to react to their changing environment; by changing their structures, how they work and where they focus. This leads to the high number of change initiatives we see in all of our customers.
So where does L&D come in? Quite simply, L&D’s expertise is in helping people to adapt, change and learn new skills. In times of turbulence this is clearly more vital than ever. In choppy waters L&D can be a canoe, enabling employees and organisations navigate to where they need to be. That’s not to say we won’t need to paddle like hell to get there; but with the right approach, these waters can be navigated.
See the big picture – L&D departments can no longer be reactive order-takers; there to serve up a workshop with a side of fries when requested. Instead L&D must see the bigger picture; understanding the strategy, challenges and operating environment of their organisations.
Prioritise effort – L&D now need to spend their time, budget and focus on the projects that really matter; the ones which align to the bigger picture and move the organisation to where it needs to be. They must be better at prioritising, pushing back and partnering the business.
Think more broadly – L&D needs to move past the paradigm of ‘courses’ as the primary way of helping people adapt, and be able to design more widely for the increasing (34 and counting) forms of digital learning that now exist. Those skilled at designing and delivering workshops need to see the transferability of these skills and not be intimidated by digital learning.
If you’re in a large organisation and are experiencing a high degree of change; take heart - this is a good thing. It means the organisation is doing its utmost to survive and thrive in a complex world. That doesn’t make it easy to handle personally. Change brings with it stress; and resilience is going to be an increasingly important personal attribute for us all. However, change also brings opportunity, particularly for L&D – as we are now needed more than ever.