3 big mistakes L&D professionals make (and how to avoid them)

by John Hilton06 Nov 2015
In a profession that’s regularly changing and full of tough challenges, it’s no surprise L&D practitioners are constantly learning from their decisions and taking different approaches.

Wayne Gobert is head of people & culture at the integrated facilities services provider Assetlink, and is responsible for the company’s L&D program.

He outlined some typical errors of judgement L&D professionals can make, and how to avoid them. 

Being too clever and forgetting about your audience

Getting too excited about your own cleverness is something that can come at the expense of addressing the main aim of the L&D program, said Gobert. This can also lead to more mistakes, such as forgetting who your audience is.

“You can start to design a program that looks brilliant and is fantastic, but the question that you have to come back to is ‘what is it that I am trying to teach you?’ he said.

“So if you’re talking about somebody who is 57 and who speaks a language other than English, are they actually going to learn from it?”

Gobert added that it’s important for L&D professionals to say to themselves ‘stop being clever’ and realise that at the end of the day, what they are really trying to do is help people learn and become better at what they do.

Not having appropriate metrics

In assessing the effectiveness of an L&D program, it’s not good enough to content yourself with ‘oh yeah, people are happy with the training’, added Gobert.

“I think it misses the point because you will almost inevitably get people saying ‘yeah, that’s pretty good, thank you,” he said.

Gobert said that L&D practitioners should have business anchored metrics, and consider the following questions:
  • How many people are actually doing the courses?
  • What’s happening in compliance?
  • Are the customers satisfied?
Failing to get the balance right

It’s very important that L&D programs are relevant and current, but this should not come at the expense of the balance and effectiveness of strategy, said Gobert.

“While e-learning is critical and I love it, there is also a need to have balance with face-to-face contact,” he said.

Even though some people might say that e-learning is great and cheap, what matters is that the overall approach is effective, and that’s about getting the balance right, he added.