Top 3 Skills for the 21st Century African L&D professional

Created on 2021-07-28 20:37

Published on 2021-07-28 21:04

The inability to measure the return on investment on training programs has been identified as a common challenge in organisations. Time has a way of bringing to the surface the things we have been sweeping under the rug. The time has come for L&D to prove its worth in these times of need for skills and upskilling to meet the new demands of the industry.

Learning and development has become a critical lifeline for organisations. In the last number of years, many organisations have been reviewing how they are handling training. One of the effects of the pandemic has been a reflection on how organisations not only view learning but also what is in it for the organisation - the return on investment. The demands for HR to justify training has switched gears, with the stakes getting higher.

Historically, learning in many organisations was an event where a learning program occurred in-house for several days or employees were sent to open public training. Critical to decision-making at that point was the availability of budget. Today, that has changed to consider the need the training will solve for the learner and by extension the organisation.

New skills for Learning Professionals(In no Particular Order)

1. Learning Technologies

The adoption of eLearning has compounded the issues of corporate learning and development. New skills are now required for the learning department in terms of managing learning in the organisation. It can no longer be left to the IT department. Learning professionals organisations are now expected to be skilled in learning technologies.

2. Learner-centered design

The second skill required by L&D professionals stems from adopting learning technology. Now that the organisation has a learning platform, the question becomes who will create the learning programs? New learning management systems developers have teamed up with content creators and thus the organisation has some generic learning programs accessible. However, not every learning program can be purchased from vendors and there is a need to develop internal and organisation-specific learning programs. These can be created in Powerpoint, Word or PDF, video, or other media available. Being able to put this together is the easy part, the hard part is designing for adults and designing for how humans learn. This brings in adult learning theories that enable learners to easily learn the content they are supposed to learn.

 3. Instructional design

Many organisations have policies. They give employees these documents to read and understand hoping the content of the policies will be applied at the workplace. Sadly, many of these policies go unread. In this day and age who has time to read a forty-page boring text document? Putting the same policies online as readable text documents does not improve the uptake in any way.

Today`s learning and development professionals need skills in instructional design to create internal learning programs that engage the learner and keep the learner wanting to learn more. They also need the skills to know which learning programs need to be self-directed, which ones need to be virtual instructor lead, and which programs need a blend of the two.

 Learning is a dish best created using a proven recipe. To standardize the experience of the learners, we need to use as many elements as the learning requires.

Quote Inspired by what`s your Formula -by Brian Washburn

The skills required for a learning professional are diverse and the more the learning professional is exposed to the various competencies the higher the relevancy of the training program they design for the organisation. The learning and development profession is wide with over 23 skills areas divided into three core areas of Building Personal Capability, Developing Professional Capability, and Impacting Organizational Capability. Source – ATD Capability Model. Source:

Learning and development professionals looking to succeed at what they do , now need to upskill. They can achieve this by taking learning programs to attain these key skills. This will highly impact their organisation's business outcomes through learning and they can move their learning departments from support units to commercial units that actually generate visible and tangible financial outcomes.

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