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The L&D Forum

I recently read a really interesting blog from David Wilkinson and wanted to share it with you.

While completing some research for a new book, David Wilkinson came to a realisation about L&D professionals. “There is a distinct difference between three types of L&D functions and the people who deliver the service”

So let’s have a look at the three types.

Type 1 – Classed as the administrators, people who don’t necessarily have a full understanding of learning processes, however have a great knowledge of the business needs and how to ensure people meet that need.

Type 2 – The delivery specialists, people who are told what to deliver and when, but do it with style.

Type 3 -  The experts, these are the people who are sought out, they have authority and influence on the organisation and have a full understanding of the training cycle.

“as I developed a relationship with many of the people what I noticed was that the main differentiator had more to do with their thinking and knowledge and their ability to communicate and impact the thinking of others than organisational structure.”

David identified two things that distinguish L&D professionals, being up to date with latest thinking and research and having the ability to turn it into practical solutions for the organisations.

I’ve tried to identify myself into one of David’s types, and it really got me thinking, elements of both type 1 and type 2 descriptions resonate with me but if I to class myself as one, I think I’m in type 2. I believe this because as a Content Designer, I am given pages of content which I have to adapt and style in a way to ensure the trainee is engaged and enjoying themselves.

What type of L&D professional do you class yourself as? I would love to hear about your experiences, have you travelled through the different types? If so, when and how.

If you are interested in reading David’s blog and reading more into his three types of L&D functions click the link below.

Becoming influential as an L&D practitioner

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  • Essential knowledge for self development is knowing about where you are and where you want to get to. Benchmarking our position against types such as these allows us to make better informed decisions about our development. As already pointed out, we can then map out where to go next to get to type 3. Thanks for sharing.
  • Great post and a great share thanks Lucy.

    I think these types must be closely linked to L&D capability development and qualification. When I first got into L&D several years ago, I was a Team Leader wanting to develop my team. I remember one session particularly which was designed to help them think through, prepare for and take action on their annual appraisals. We had some great sessions that worked really well. At the time though, I probably didn't really have a full understanding of the learning process. It just kind of happened by accident. The Type 1 description applied to me then. Knowledge of business needs and how to ensure these were met but not really an overall view of the learning process.

    Over the years, I started to understand the learning process more, but I don't think it was till I did my Level 3 CIPD Diploma in L&D with DPG that this made total sense to me. Further qualifications I've done have moved me up the 'types'.

    In my view, being the sought out experts with influence is what we should all strive for our L&D functions. We should aim for that Type 3 description. And if as L&D professionals we feel our L&D functions are not quite there yet, we should consider what development needs to occur? I agree with David's comments about being up to date with the latest thinking and turning these into practical solutions.

    So I too am interested to hear how people would class themselves individually and as an L&D team, but also how they intend to develop L&D capability further particularly keeping up with latest thinking and how they use this to shape practical L&D solutions.

    The makings of a great conversation thanks Lucy.  Comment below people!

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