New report uncovers future focus for training

The Chartered Institute of Learning and Development (CIPD) has announced the publication of Supporting, Accelerating and Directing Learning.

Drawing from the findings of the Virtual Trainers Network’s online polls and discussion threads, as well as numerous projects, the report argues for a new definition of the trainer role to that of a facilitator of learning embedded specifically to the needs of employees and the organisation. It argues that this will in turn help to create a culture where learning is relevant to the needs of the learners, and more integrated in the day-to-day activities.

To embed learning, the line manager is crucial. The 2008 CIPD Learning and Development surveyreported that there is a positive shift to line managers being involved in determining learning and development needs (86 per cent), with half predicting line managers will have greater responsibility in the next five years. The ‘embedded approach’ also needs to be applied to coaching, which is now practised in the majority of organisations (71 per cent).

Deemed especially important is the need for buy-in from employees and line managers alike as well as top management commitment to realise the full potential contribution of learning, training and development.

Martyn Sloman, Adviser Learning, Training & Development at the CIPD, said: “Managers at all levels must be able to see that the training and learning interventions are closely aligned to business requirements. If that happens they will benefit immediately and put less pressure on the training department to prove itself. Otherwise, they will only play lip-service and not give the support that is essential if new skills and knowledge are to be transferred back into the workplace.”

Strategically aligning learning and development with organisational priorities can prove difficult, however, according to a 2007 Virtual Trainers Network poll which identified a major area of difficulty: 40 per cent indicated that their organisations strategy is unclear and 60 per cent highlighted that top managers do not see learning training and development activities as strategic. Additionally, respondents agreed that decisions about spending are determined more by year-on-year budget levels rather than by the identification of strategic priorities.

Sloman added: “We want employees to learn, which is a discretionary activity. You can make people sit in a training room, but you can’t make them learn. Still less can you make them apply what they have learned or share that learning with others.”

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