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Consultant Susan Burroughs on the Changing Structure of Organizational Learning (Interview)

Susan Burroughs is currently contracting, consulting and freelancing in eLearning, informal learning, web design and mobile app design.

Her experience spans over 10 years in program leadership and implementation successes in classroom, on-the-job, virtual, and event environments. Comprehensive design, delivery and support for national and international programs.

You can contact her on Twitter @susan_ld4e or on her website.

Q. From your perspective, what are a few of the greatest challenges facing the training profession today?

Culture, training and adoption need to be of primary concern in the technology selection process, especially with large enterprise systems that will dramatically change the way people do their jobs. I’ve done some work on matching communication media to information needs and culture.

IT departments are consolidating tools in order to reduce ongoing technology administration costs. This makes implementing new tools quite a challenge without planning for additional headcount outside of IT.

Another challenge is disruption. Learning functions are shrinking and the work is growing. I am often asked to help SMEs own their own training design and development. However, many SMEs are disinterested or overworked already. We are all doing more work and more types of work.

Strategically, we are all trainers, although the technology to execute this strategy is still in the very early adoption phase. Strategy is following the hype curve, not the adoption curve. That is a huge execution disconnect.

Q. How might these challenges differ from the challenges of yesterday?

My work has shifted from a service oriented focus to a SME coach. Rather than handing off content, my SMEs work with me to develop their skills in instructional design. For those who have been doing service focused ILT for many years, social technology platforms and disruption of content design and development are huge shifts.

Q. What are some technology and research trends today that will have an impact on tomorrow?

ADDIE must evolve.

Integrating learning with talent management, social learning, and evidence based principles are what will shape the next phase of learning design. More companies will attempt to use the crowd informally rather than depend on top down learning programs. I think there will be mixed results with this, depending on the culture of a given company.

Q. How might the structure of organizational learning change in 10 years?

Leadership and compliance learning will stay relatively the same with some blended or eLearning elements to reduce delivery costs. The biggest changes will come from intuitive talent management and automation of development plans.

Data intelligence and consistent competency models will lead to more targeted and informal learning. Learning must become an easy to use, right-for-me solution to a career development problem. I hope we see more of a focus on ROI and impact. As the ID process disrupts, some of the quality controls (for example, 4 level evaluation) can suffer.

Q. What kind of 21st century training program do you envision?

Pandora for learning driven by seeds from your role, goals, and manager inputs.

Q. What resources would you recommend for our readers if they’d like to stay current in your line of work?

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