By The HR Observer for ATD Middle East Conference & Exhibition

We asked our experts from the recent ATD Middle East Conference & Exhibition, Dubai 2018 to share their insights on the latest trends in learning and development. Here’s what they they had to say:

How has L&D changed in today’s digital world?

Learning has become ubiquitous— always present and always on. Learning comes from email or as file shares in the team collaboration tools. It comes through MOOCs such as Coursera and edX, which offer universal access to courses delivered by faculty from some of the world’s best colleges and universities. Learning comes through YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social network platforms. This accessibility requires learning professionals to rethink their role and add new skills to their portfolio. Today, learning professionals should not think of themselves as facilitators and designers of programs. They are architects and engineers who design experiences that drive results.  – Dr. Patti Phillips, President & CEO, ROI Institute

The world of L&D has evolved and continues to evolve every moment. L&D is more than tutor-led
classroom sessions, as it was traditionally conducted. Learning is now on-the-go. People prefer accessibility, agility, and credible information that is purposeful. L&D plays a major role in making this happen and facilitating the process. Today’s L&D needs to be more flexible, providing the tools to meet the business requirement based on learning styles and nature of the job for different roles. – Dinesh N. Chaudhari, Associate Director of L&D, Jumeirah Beach Hotel (Jumeirah Group)

L&D is undergoing transformation along with other digital and technological changes. Real-time learning nuggets that are relevant and relatable to situations and events. Digital and social learning is becoming the norm. Co-creation of learning through research and crowdsourcing is shaping how people will consume information going forward. To sum it all up, it is about learning becoming more personalized and dynamic – Sandhya Nagee, Director Talent & Development MENA, Thomson Reuters

Disruption for an organization like GE means many things. We focus on being the disruptor rather than the disrupted from a business perspective, although this is not always the reality. From an L&D
perspective, it means equipping our leaders to compete in the digital world, providing multiple learning opportunities that are easy to access at a time of the learner’s choosing, to lessen the focus on the physical classroom, saving time and cost of travel. We are investing a lot in our LMS and the range of offerings within it. Tim Highet, Regional Director at GE Crotonville Customer
Leadership Learning, GE, UK

As organizations are working to rise to the challenge of disruption and digitalization, the role of L&D has become more critical than ever to partner with business leaders not only to support, but more importantly to advise and lead business in getting the workforce ready for now and the future. With digitalization, L&D practitioners must be at the forefront of the trend and provide counsel to business partners for the right strategy in providing the right learning approach for the workforce. While it is important to move toward digital, anytime-and-anywhere learning, organizations’ culture and readiness should be considered before jumping into digitalizing learning. Learning objectives, workforce demographics, organizations’ technology capability, and learning culture are still factors to be considered in identifying the learning strategy. – Cindy Dermawan, Head – Talent and Learning Management, Diversity and Inclusion, Singapore. Citi

We have seen companies embracing learning more and more, but learners have less and less time
to dedicate to the “traditional classroom.” It is more critical than ever that any talent development initiative is tied to clear business goals. Learners want to know why they are being trained, what the clear outcome expected from them is, and how it would help them do their jobs better. This means we have to embrace innovative ways to engage the learner—one solution no longer fits everyone. And we have to embrace technology and use it to its fullest advantage. Because that is what our learners want, and expect from us – Elizabeth Hannah, Senior Manager in ATD Education, ATD, USA