Several folks already commented on the LinkedIn Learning Report…here’s my 2 cents.

Where’s the voice of our customers?

I like to see much more input from our customers: employees and business leaders. What do they think about the role of L&D? How we are doing and what skills we should develop? Most of the messaging is “L&D expects this”, “L&D pros see that”. All quote’s are from L&D leaders. I’d love to see the 2023 report full of quotes from business leaders!

Because if you really want to know how you are doing, ask your customers, they are always right! p.s. When a glint data says that “opportunities to learn and grow is now the number 1 factor that people say defines an exceptional work environment” it doesn’t mean that everybody loves your L&D programs! People also (mainly?) see growth as being promoted and getting additional benefits…and they might use a lot opportunities to learn without using any of your L&D tools and programs!

It’s telling that only on page 36 the report mentions “Employees crave skills, too” and I actually had to laugh out loud when I read it…finally…but too little (only one page!) and too late (they should have started with the voice of the L&D customer!).

If supporting business challenges and addressing workforce needs is not our prime objective, what is?

Christopher Lind comments that “The opportunity for L&D to shine is here if we stretch beyond our silo and meaningfully connect the work we do to business challenges and workforce needs”. Also the report presents like this is something brand new…but if that is so, what have we been doing all these years? Where have we spent all those millions (billions!) on? For me this is not an opportunity, it is a must do for L&D. If we’re not able to connect learning investments to business challenges and workforce needs, we should not invest!

L&D should stick to it’s core

Sometimes I think we overstate our importance, or our scope. when saying things like “Learning leads the way through the Great Reshuffle” or, “L&D is still responsible for producing high-impact, high-quality learning experiences, but it’s now also being handed bigger, meatier problems to solve — like future-proofing entire organizations.” I wonder. I doubt we are leading the way in the great shuffle, but more importantly we should not be leading it! And is it truly is the role of L&D to ‘future proof’ the organization? I do not think so. We have a contribution to make (and it’s up to us to decide how much we want and can contribute….) but it’s the organizations responsibility to become future proof, not L&D. Without the organization leading this change (any change actually), it will simply not work. I think it’s actually more interesting to start figuring out what the role of L&D truly is. What we need from the business in order for us to help them, what we can offer them in terms of services, insights, experiences etc.

Evidence Based Learning Experience design should be L&D’s up skill priority (but Data & Analytics, Consulting, Strategic Thinking and Technology are important as well!)

I’m super happy to see the attention to building new skills in L&D! It’s needed. Happy also to see critical skills like Technology, (business and/or performance) Consulting and Data Analytics on top (page 26 of the report). I feel that those 3, together with Strategic Thinking are key for success. However… There is 1 skill that should top all others, but that is strangely lower on the list than ‘training delivery’, which is ‘learning experience design’, or even better, ‘Evidence informed learning experience design‘. When you talk about what are unique and strategic skills of L&D…it should be that one. Everybody does technology, data, strategy, leadership and consulting… But being able to create meaningful, engaging, efficient and effective experience that truly changes how people think, act, work and behave is extremely challenging. But it is what’s making us unique.

So we should put so much more effort, investments, time and energy in creating these truly amazing experience, rather that just continue producing training….

That having said… If you need help with Learning Tech, Learning Analytics and Business Consulting, feel free to reach out! More than happy to help…

What is really needed to up-skill the workforce?

I fully agree that the current focus on building skills is a huge opportunity for L&D. But I’m not sure we are really adapting our solutions, services and way of working to play a major role and would have loved the report to include some insights around how to do this.

I’m working with some of the best learning teams in the world and the current 3 priorities are skills, skills and skills! However, it’s not a easy puzzle to solve:

Truly building skills through holistic and evidence based learning experiences is really hard. It requires so much more than content (practice, fail, feedback and fail again…and then rinse and repeat). It requires deep analysis (what is a skill? How do you prove you have a skill?) and a thorough experience design (not just content and video’s!). Most of us are not capable of designing to this level of sophistication.

In additional it requires continuous monitoring and tracking; skills is very much a data play and you need sophisticated data strategies, models, analytics and insights to truly understand (1) what skills are required, and (2) what skills do we have. And no, self assessment of skills is not a reliable source of data, or at least not if its your only data source.

A positive shout out on the mentioning of experimentation and trying out new formats and idea’s. Fully agree. With skills in mind there are excellent opportunities to experiment, do A/B testing and try to figure out what works and what doesn’t as there is no ‘golden format’ out there!

With skills the big elephant in the room naturally is that we all assume that people with the right skills (what are the right skills I often wonder…do we really know?) improve business performance. But we all know that assumptions are “the mother of all….”. While it holds through that if people do not have the right skills, improvements in business performance are uncertain, ensuring people have the right skills does not guarantee anything! That is why the previous comment on continuous tracking is so important! If we do not connect skill building with business performance, we’re flying blind…

From that perspective it’s also interesting to see that most L&D self development time is spend on Operations (page 25). This suggests that we still have the very operational mindset while the transformation to skill building requires a much more strategic and tactical mindset!

Putting things in perspective

While the report provides some great insights, we have to remember that many insights are based on LinkedIn Learning data. As LinkedIn Learning only is part of most L&D’s catalogs, and often brought in to develop very generic knowledge and skills, it only tells part of the story…just something to keep in mind.

In conclusion

It’s interesting that in the 3-minute take away, LinkedIn mentions 6 “keys to success” that I fully agree with (although I would put “listen to learners” and “activate managers” on top!)

  • Collaborate with HR colleagues
  • Stay close to the stakeholders
  • Budget wisely
  • Activate managers
  • Listen to learners
  • Never stop learning yourself

What I think is a missed opportunity is that the report contains things we all know already (or should know) and does not present any new thinking and innovative concepts. I would expect more from a world leader in learning!

Comments on the 2022 LinkedIn Learning Workplace Learning Report

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