The Role of the “New” Training Professional

The way in which learning occurs in organizations has changed tremendously and with this evolution comes a new focus for L & D professionals. In many organizations the role of the training professional has transformed; no longer focused on delivering training, today’s L&D professional is now a facilitator of learning who also serves as an information manager, a content curator, and a builder of learning communities.

Employees today are both self-organized and self-managed as evidenced by the people in our workplaces who undertake independent professional learning. We also encounter employees who readily and actively participate in learning as part of collaborative efforts with team members.

Because of this, today’s training professionals increasingly focus on helping those self-directed individuals define and measure their own success including assisting them in identifying how learning is helping them perform … and/or perform better.

Traditionally trainers have designed, created and delivered content. While the need to do that is not going away the role of trainers has expanded and shifted to meet the needs of today’s workplace. An organization’s L&D professional may no longer be creating and delivering content herself but she is still responsible for facilitating learning.

So what does that entail?

Information Manager

People are overwhelmed, or so it seems, with data and information; hundreds of TV channels, overflowing email inboxes, and updates via social networks competing for attention. With this explosion of information, and less time than ever to find it, gaining access to meaningful information and being shown easy ways to consume it, is of ever increasing importance. Training professionals can seek out, identify and share information that aligns with and supports organizational, or role-specific, learning needs.

Content Curator

Content curation includes the gathering and sharing of relevant content and filtering the information in order to share the most pertinent resources with the intended audience. By clearly communicating the value for recipients and providing these micro-learning opportunities, the training professional can sync with the rapid and flexible way in which today’s workers consume content. Finding, saving, and sharing articles, quotes, or messages that reinforce learning objectives allows the L&D professional to readily provide relevant information that reinforces learning objectives. Sharing content via email, social networks, or a specific technology tool can allow employees to digest content when it suits their needs; whether sitting at their desk or curled up on their couch in the evening.

Community Builder

People in all workplaces must work with others, collaborate effectively, and share knowledge and information. While people may come together formally, such as in a work team formed by function or proximity, there are other ways that groups gather including communities where there is a shared area of interest or in wider networks that focus more on information capture. Within these communities employees share knowledge and explore issues while crossing organizational solos and enriching everyone’s learning experience.

We know that employees don’t merely learn during formal training program; they also learn and build skills informally on-the-job, through coaching or mentoring, learning by doing (actual experience), and via the sharing of tacit knowledge or other information. Today’s training professional needs to manage information, provide purposeful content, and encourage community interaction. Providing timely and pertinent information in a variety of ways is a “new” – and highly effective – way to facilitate learning.