Not all L&D professionals work on the demand side of the equation within traditional L&D departments or the integrated HR function or even in the new Talent or Capability Development arenas. The key thing with roles such as Learning Technologist or Learning Solutions Account Manager is that the Learning comes first. The more L&D professionals taking on these alternative non-demand mantles and working on the supply side of Learning Technology the better.
When partnering with a technology company to build a learning solution for your business it is critical that they understand learning and that you can help them understand how learning works in your organisation. You will then develop a technology based solution that is based on how people learn and current learning theory, and how and what they need to learn in your organisation. This type of true learning technology partnership will generate long term results and build lasting commercial partnerships.
I pondered long and hard before taking on a supply side role as a Learning Solutions Account Manager. I’d spent over 20 years working within organisations on the demand side. As a member of all the relevant institutes and a keen believer in CPD, I’ve kept my knowledge current as my experience grew realised that the days of learning solutions being isolated from technology are over. I’m not saying the flip-chart and the post-it are dead, however, the impact of your learning event now needs to be recorded, measured, and in some cases, the return on investment calculated. The only sensible way to do this in any sizable organisation is via technology and once you have out-grown the spreadsheet (which let’s face it never worked) it is very likely you will need to partner with a learning technology company.
Having spent several years of my life working on business cases for technology solutions which didn’t get board approval or became so over complicated they were out-dated before they were implemented I am a firm believer in working with a partner to achieve a simple and speedy solution.
1. Start small and build from there.
2. Work with a partner whom you can trust and your technology solution can grow over time.
Whether eLearning, LMS supporting multiple competency frameworks, 360 assessment or analytical review of all L&D/HR activity, the best solutions tend to grow over time. Since I started working with eCom I have seen so many examples of just that.
I’m currently working with a client who needed to turn around a community of practice with an integrated 360 review tool in under 6 weeks. As an L&D professional I have been able to support at every step of the process, from working with our operations team to understand the timelines and what could be achieved, through to supporting the development of the 360 questions based on the corporate underlying competences. We are now on schedule to go live with an excellent solution that the client is delighted with. They have identified a number of additional phases which can be added once the initial project is up and running and we have evidence of the impact and return on investment.