Additional thoughts on the ATD Research: Instructional Design Now: A New Age of Learning and Beyond

I read a post on Kasper Spiro’s blog about the ATD research on instructional design. What he discusses resonates with me. As a consultant, I talk with a lot of clients, both from the learning and business side, and I find the average organization’s knowledge about learning and its competitive advantage hasn’t kept up with current research and thinking.

Have we created an ivory tower in learning? Are learning professionals only talking amongst themselves with their knowledge being confined within its own walls?

Learning still isn’t integrated into the work environment. Leaders don’t support learning because it is seen as something external to on-the-job requirements and at best, on the periphery of meeting business goals.

Research shows organizations that support ongoing professional development have a more engaged workforce, higher retention and are more successful than those that don’t have continuous learning. However, these reports aren’t being seen by those who need to read them.

What is the first step to lessen this widening divide? How can learning find its place in organizations and become the natural extension of daily work that supports productivity and performance? This question becomes much bigger when we realize the answer may be to reformat the current learning paradigm. At the very least, organizations need to begin to survey staff to understand the needs of employees for job success and how that aligns to organizational goals.

Organizations need a learning advocate; but this isn’t in place in many organizations and won’t be put in place till there is recognition of the value of a philosophy of learning around job functionality. So there is a bit of a catch 22. The challenge lies in reaching the right person.

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