I’m seeing L&D/T&D or rather the compartmentalization of “learning”as a lame duck practice. It’s one of those 20th century institutions that people cling to maybe for nostalgia. Like bookstores and those that still speak of their need because some just like the feel of a book. Is it time to throw this, and possibly other functional departments, on the trash heap of history? Segmenting “learning” as a function away from the rest of the business just can’t remain viable. Yes, training will always be needed but can we justify an entire department devoted to it?
We know learning is happening all the time with or without an L&D function. Can you imagine a company today having no L&D department? No training function? Sure, if the company is 25 people then doubtful they are having a formal department. What about 250 or maybe even 2500? Now that seems more likely – but is it necessary?
The reason a L&D or T&D department didn’t exist when a company was small (25 people) was because a new worker was hired expecting to having great skill already, the company was very flexible in regards to tools, processes and policies because priority one was survival. And learning the ways of the organization happened through peer-to-peer interactions.
Today the agility often found in start-ups is not a result of trying to survive, rather survival is a result of being agile. Information and expertise is a click (or tap) away. Web 2.0 and the various tools available to help us share knowledge, collaborate and build relationships have the ability to make a 2500 employee company move like one that has only 25.