Developing a Learning Culture

L&D Influencers Weigh in on Our Industry Questions

When taking the pulse of the L&D industry, there’s no better indicator of health that the professionals who eat, sleep, and breath training every day. That’s why we turned to the top L&D influencers on LinkedIn to answer some of our questions about the past, present, and future of all things learning. Check out their answers and insight here.

Question #1: At what moment did you realize that L&D was your life calling?

Toby Harris, Creative Lead and LMS Product Manager at Saffron Interactive

The moment when I saw that the official education system often does more to impede learning than it does to encourage it (and that for many of us the true opportunities for personal growth and development only arrive when we enter the workplace) was when I realized just how important learning and development can be. But I also came to understand that the institution of “L&D” is, itself, deeply flawed and has a pronounced tendency to work against its stated aims. So, improving that experience for the next generation of workers–and in doing so helping organizations–was a key and fascinating challenge for me. Of course, the tasks of L&D are different now and more ambitious: now it is likely to become part of the overall digital and social enterprise agenda, which is where things get really exciting. Digitalisation and its impact on performance is what keeps me compelled by this industry.”

Question #2: Which person most helped to broaden your experience?

David Berz, Director, Global Learning Products at Melcrum (Previously Global Head of Learning Experience at Linkedin)

My first supervisor helped me get into a Master’s program and also helped me understand what L&D actually is. While he was not actually in L&D he helped me pursue what soon became a passion of mine.”

Question #3: Which companies are particularly ahead of the curve in L&D?

Toby Harris, Creative Lead and LMS Product Manager at Saffron Interactive

“Companies doing well, in my opinion, include those with mature strategies and an ability to plan results and measure results, such as the audit firms or leading firms in the oil and gas industry. But it’s fairly easy to get ahead of the curve when serving highly-paid knowledge workers: They demand a sophisticatedblended approach as a matter of course and usually there’s the budget to pay for it.

More interesting are organizations like Telefonica that are serving a diverse array of learners in innovative ways within tight constraints. Of course it be unfair of me to omit that the company I work for, Saffron Interactive, which works with many organizations who are already ahead of the curve and helps others to get there.”

Eunjae Kim, Learning Architect at eLearning Mind

“The field of L&D is so broad that it’s hard to single out a company that is really ahead of the curve. In fact, the organizations that come out ahead are those that are constantly seeking out new methods, keep an open mind, and are always on their toes in terms of technique.”

Question #4: How did you develop your social media following?

Bob O’Keefe, L&D at LinkedIn

“Give/get: Always offering something beyond just “networking” and providing value to all of those to whom I’m connected.”

Susan Bainbridge, Author & Researcher at Higher Education, PossibilityPlace and

“I began with content curation through with the purpose of providing information of value to the public. As I collected interesting material, I would post to Twitter and LinkedIn. It grows exponentially as people began to appreciate the material and re-post or retweet.”

Question #5: What’s the biggest opportunity for future advancement in L&D?

Clive Shepherd, Founding Director at The More Than Blended Learning Company

“You have to think beyond the course. So many L&D functions are just organizers of courses when we know that learning occurs in a whole range of contexts, including on-the-job and on-demand. Technology is also bringing major opportunities – online video will be massive, mobile the device of choice.”

David Berz, Director, Global Learning Products at Melcrum

“Internal L&D teams often tend to be viewed as service organizations. The challenge is for teams to earn credibility with their organizations and create partnerships where they are seen more as strategic partners. This is important because otherwise, the tendency is for departments to dictate what they want which then leads to lousy learning experiences. L&D practitioners should be viewed as the expert and brought to the table to advise the best strategy. This will result in better learning design, better learning products and a better learner experience.”