The first trend Tom mentioned is personalization: adapting learning and development goals to the wishes, needs, and learning styles of the individual. While this is not easy, it is necessary, as everyone is different and each individual learns differently.
2. A clear distinction between micro and macro learning
When we talk about macro learning, we mean learning something new: a new language, a new subject. Microlearning is all about how you can help people do their current job better. Macro learning is relatively easy to perform. It is of course quite an investment for the student to learn a new language, for example, but the range of thought-out training and courses that are available is quite large. Therefore Haak advises outsourcing to third parties. According to him, the focus should be on microlearning. To do so, you need to know how people perform in their current role, what is expected from them, and how you can help them to grow in that way.
3. Focus on the employee
Most learning initiatives are organized in a top-down fashion. The organization wants something which will then be imposed on the employees. In his video, Haak wonders whether this is a sustainable solution. Take the example of startups: they work with self-regulating teams that decide for themselves what is needed. In his vision, we should give people more support where they need it, instead of imposing what the organization needs.
The hidden danger
When we speak to HR and L&D teams from different organizations, we hear these trends mentioned above. But there is a danger in it, in our opinion. All three of these trends focus on the same thing: helping someone improve in their current role. L&D managers want to facilitate employees to learn when they need it. This is a good decision in principle, however there are many complications which follow: who will decide what each employee should learn? How often should an employee learn? And how much time should an employee take to learn? How can an employee estimate what he or she needs in the future? Positions and associated skills change and employees may be incompetent without being aware of it yet.
Stay in a dialogue
Oftentimes, employees will not be able to make the assessment of what they need to learn at all. Therefore, it is the task of an L&D manager or department – of course in consultation with management – to determine the skills of the future. The organization should always have a vision of where it wants to go and what the employees must be able to do. From this perspective, there is nothing wrong with a top-down approach. Of course, just as long as this matches with the wishes, needs, and learning styles of the employees, always keeping them in mind. This is the only way for everyone to take ownership and achieve the best result.