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L&D skills in 2021

Have you got these job roles covered?

Ryan O'Connell Chief Operating Officer

L&D skills in 2021

With 2020 coming to an end (not a moment too soon, some would say) it’s time to look forward to the future and now is a good time to reflect on what new roles or skill sets L&D teams should be thinking about for next year and beyond.

At THRIVE, we’re fortunate to work with some forward-thinking L&D teams who are ahead of the curve and reimagining the part that L&D teams play in organisational success.

So here’s a list of the top four roles or skill sets we see getting more air time next year.

1. Performance Architect

Performance Architects will form a critical role within their organisation. Sitting between L&D and the operational side of the business, this role will have three main responsibilities:

  1. Identify organisational goals, objectives and desired outcomes.
  2. Define the KPIs and measures that define success in those outcomes.
  3. Analyse the behaviour changes (whose behaviours need to change and how) required within the business in order for those KPIs to be met and the outcomes achieved.

The Performance Architect will help define learning experiences that will support business performance improvements - a key part of ensuring that organisations achieve their goals and objectives.

Ideally, the architect will follow a model to design learning experiences that follow the above method of starting by defining the outcome, then defining the measures, then identifying the behaviours that need to change before creating learning experiences that drive that behaviour change. In this way, the performance architect is one of the most critical parts of the new L&D skill set as they bridge the gap between learning and performance

2. Learning Insights Analyst

A Learning Insights Analyst is essentially a data analyst with a particular interest in learning and performance data. Specifically, they will:

  1. Analyse learning data and performance data to identify correlations.
  2. Measure KPIs that identify when organisational goals have been achieved.
  3. Create evidence-based stories from multiple data sources that highlight where learning experiences have directly impacted performance improvements.

In a nutshell, the Learning Insights Analyst will find the data points that prove the success or otherwise of learning interventions. This is an increasingly important role and more of our customers are employing this type of skill set. One of our customers recently put together some quizzes to test their sales team’s product knowledge. The data they got back pointed to some knowledge gaps so they pulled together content to close that gap. After the content had been consumed, not only did they see much higher results when they ran the quizzes again, but they also saw a measurable improvement in sales of the particular product.

In that instance, the learning insights analyst was able to directly support improvements in the bottom line.

3. Learning Marketeer

There is a positive trend towards using marketing techniques to drive engagement in learning and this is reaping benefits for companies who adopt this approach. The main responsibilities of this role are:

  1. Plan and execute learning campaigns, ensuring that they coincide with business initiatives, such as a new product launch or the adoption of a new policy, or marketing them around social awareness campaigns, such as mental health awareness week.
  2. Promote key messages and hot content, helping learners keep up to date with what’s relevant in the business.
  3. Keep the learning platform homepage fresh and relevant, and answering the WIFM (what’s in it for me) question that learners will have when using the platform.

Helping learners find out what content exists on the learning platform is a key part of ensuring that learning is accessible for all, and this is where the learning marketeer becomes essential for driving engagement and suitable content. They will be thinking about ensuring there is a regular drumbeat of content, and working with the content creator/curator (see below) to plan content releases and learning campaigns.

4. Content Creator/Curator

Thankfully, we’re seeing a trend away from traditional forms of content (e.g. 1 hour elearning modules that take 3 months to create and generate little engagement or measurable benefits) to a much more modern approach which uses micro or even nano learning to provide just in time learning. The main responsibilities here are:

  1. Find experts in the business and tap into their tacit knowledge to create or curate content from them.
  2. Curate content that already exists externally that can be relevant for the organisation.
  3. Create resources to support learning in the flow of work.

The key part of this skill set is understanding how modern learners like to consume content. And guess what: the way you like to learn inside of work is very similar to the way you like to learn outside of work! We often ask customers to answer a standard question: how would you learn how to change a part in your car? And the answers never include “book myself on a mechanics course”. Understanding how modern learners like to learn helps ensure that content provided is exactly what people are looking for.

The thing to remember about this list is that they don’t have to be new roles or new people - they’re really a combination of skill sets - many of which may already exist in your L&D team today.

If you want to learn more about how the L&D teams we’re working with are using these new skill sets to get the most out of their Learning & Skills Platform to drive business performance, please get in touch on LinkedIn, I’d love to speak with you

Interested to understand more about how a learning platform can enable and support these skills? Download this ebook and explore all the features to futureproof your L&D strategy and team

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