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Disruption in L&D

Has Disruption begun to take place in our industry?

We’ve written elsewhere on the general definition of disruptive innovation, but what does this mean to us in L&D?

Well, for a start, there is a live example of disruptive innovation in the world of learning and development.

Training companies have sold expensive, residential courses for years and whilst these have been challenged before, it is only in more recent years with a better understanding of how people learn and with the introduction of better technology, that these companies have been disrupted.

The people who were not happy spending so much or sending out people for 5-day residential programmes are now enjoying the benefits of online learning – a cheaper and more convenient alternative.

This has also been an example of breakthrough innovation, as the existing customers of the residential training courses are investing more in their LMS and using e-learning in place of the big multi-day course.

So e-learning has both provided a new market for development and stolen business from the old market of long courses.

Love it or loathe it, we now have e-learning well established in our development world – whether it’s an intelligent, interactive or even gamified system or simply someone’s voice recorded over PowerPoint slides – this has opened up a new world of learning just when you want to, in a far more cost-effective way.

Of course there is a downside, if we think about the goal of most learning, it is to create a change in behaviour.

For example, watching a video or playing a game that teaches the importance of how to run performance management conversation, might give some interesting tips and increase knowledge, but these tools alone do not create the change in behaviour we are usually looking for.

To change our behaviour we need knowledge, skill and habit.  We need to know what we should be doing, we need to have the skill to put that into action, and then we have to actually do it.

So whilst we have seen disruptive innovation in L&D in the form of e-learning, the question is now how to achieve the outcomes we really want from learning?