Latest L&D industry trends and how to create a L&D team for the future

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So what will be hot in workplace L&D this year? That’s a question Donald H Taylor (Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute UK since 2010) has been asking every year since 2014.  His one-minute (actually it’s less than that if you are decisive) , one-question annual survey takes the pulse of the L&D community world-wide.  The question?   “What will be hot in workplace L&D in 2018?” I love the simplicity of it.

We are working with Donald again this year to see what the NZ results are. Last year Microlearning topped the list in NZ. interestingly this year, overall results are given immediately and Microlearning is now 6th globally!  A big fall from last year, which Donald predicted on our NZ webinar.  Virtual reality is way down the list at 7th place and I have something to say about why I think that is below.

Take less than a minute and have your say here.

Number 1 on the list so far is, not unexpected for me, Personalised learning.

I think  L&D teams are really going to struggle with implementing Personalised learning, and not be able to deliver on it. I think L&D Managers need to be doing something about team structure, now, or organisations will miss the biggest learning trend of the next few years.

So read on as to why I think that


L&D history

To explain this belief, we need to look back at L&D over the past 15 years.

Josh Bersin, in his Bersin by Deloitte article titled ‘Predictions for 2017’ reviewed the  rapid evolution of corporate learning.

Interestingly the commentary on this table is light and heavily video related.  The report states:

“Only 15 years ago (2001 – the year Articulate was formed, as was Linkedin.), the concepts of “e-learning” were just beginning. In the mid 2000’s, we moved to blended learning, virtual classrooms, and a myriad of technologies for simulation, gamification, and eventually social learning.”

There is no mention of a lot of what has happened in the last 10 years, so that got me thinking.


Industries cycle

When I looked at the evolution table above, I agree this is how things have evolved. And as an entrepreneur as well as a learning practitioner, I started to see a pattern.

In the past I have used the Talent Dynamics profile to ensure L&D teams were in the right roles to ensure they found the highest level of performance, enjoyment and flow state, and therefore productivity.

Talent  Dynamics is far more than a profiling tool. It is both a language of high performing teams which allows us to tune in to the concept of flow.  It allows us to see that flow has a place for all of us, provided we follow the path that lets us shine.

Like all of the (over 10,000) personality profiles in the world, and I am sure you have your favourite, it is based on the I Ching and then eventually, Carl Jung’s archetype work in the early 1900’s.


The I Ching states all things are nature based and go through cycles,
countries, organisations, ourselves, relationships, industries etc .
The ‘frequencies’ are:

Summer – a time for renewal growth, vision and creativity
Spring – a time for social, sharing, team and collaboration
Autumn – a time for bedding down, service, scheduling and slowing down
Winter – a time for accuracy, detail and analytics

And there are eight profiles (Creator, Star etc)
associated to each of the seasons which you can see here.



I so strongly believe in this that we run our 5 year annual planning around it. I can tell you, I am a Blaze Supporter (Summer) with a business in Tempo Trader (autumn)  and working in an industry coming into Winter (steel).  I even have some cool cards that tell me how I should act and not act based on my profile and clients, colleagues, team, the industry and my business.

Understanding where we have been, can help us determine where we are going. So my thoughts are:

Early 2000’s : we were in the spring phase, the time when creation happens, where the many new digitals were created; Articulate Storyline, dominKnow, Docebo, LinkedIn to name a few.

Mid 2000’s : we entered the summer, collaboration social learning phase. Wiki’s, blogs, facebook, the iPhone, all let us share

Early 2010’s : interesting  Bersin makes no mention of the industry at this time and jumps straight to 2016-2017 and personalised learning. Making me believe we were in an autumn, bedding down phase

2016-2017 : and back to Donald H Taylor’s survey with personalised learning being #2 in 2016 and #1 in 2017 and looking like #1 in 2018. (have your say here.) I believe this is an indication we are heading into a steel phase (to be followed by another round of creative spring phase in the next 3-4 years which is where we will see the real emergence of the likes of VR and AR come mainstream into learning, and which is why I think it is #7 currently).

I believe we are heading into a ‘steel’ phase. To provide personalised learning we need to understand data and analytics. This requires us to understand such things as writing  xAPI statements (have you tried? Eeek, as a Blaze Supporter, it turned my brain inside out!) and Learning record stores connected to current legacy LMS’ (that turned my brain inside out too!)



So what does that mean for teams? Most L&D practitioners I meet are creatives (spring and love designing learning) or extroverted Blaze facilitators or stakeholder managers who love communicating and sharing. Very few have the steel preference and if they do they are often forced into people or creative roles that do not see them flourish.

Using the Talent Dynamics profiling tool, we can easily assess your team and determine if you have the right mix to take advantage of the personalised learning trends of 2018-2020. In fact, we believe this is so important we are giving the profiles away so please contact us for your team profile!

As well as helping you identify team profiles, we also highly recommend Charles Jennings new roles associated with 70:20:10.  We have again overlaid the Talent Dynamics square to his roles. Not only do each of the roles fit the frequencies discussed above, it tells you the ‘how to’ of each role.


New roles to support the next trends and 70:20:10

70:20:10 offers tremendous opportunities for those HR and L&D leaders who want to extend their remit and create real impact. But to do so, they need to take a fresh look at the roles, skills and tasks their teams require in order to play a meaningful part in building high performance in their organisations.

In Charles Jennings’ book ‘70:20:10 towards 100% performance’ these roles and processes are explained in detail, but they are outlined below. This book is available as part of the Performance Detective workshop Charles is running himself live in Auckland on March 15th 2018.


It’s all about performance

All the new roles target performance rather than learning. This is reflected in their names – the Performance Detective, Performance Architect, Performance Master Builder, Performance Game Changer, and Performance Tracker.

It’s important to understand that these roles and processes are not simply an overlay on the old ADDIE model. ADDIE was developed for military training as an instructional design model.

70:20:10 moves far beyond the need for instructional design and formal training. The new roles also do away with the rather rigid linear process embedded in the ADDIE approach.

For example, the work of the Performance Tracker to define the key metrics that will be used to determine success needs to be carried out in lock-step with the work of the Performance Detective, who will determine the critical business issues, performance issues and root causes.

The Performance Detective – Steel

The Performance Detective’s role is to carry out an analysis of critical organisational issues where underperformance is believed to be a contributing factor.

The Performance Detective identifies the (quantified) performance gaps, the root causes of the gap, the functionalities in question and a list of critical tasks required to address the gaps (the opportunity for improvement).

This goes well beyond the current role within L&D in which training needs are the focus of the analysis. The Performance Detective is focused on outputs. Training Needs are focused on inputs.

The Performance Architect – Dynamo

The Performance Architect’s role is as a business partner and designer. The Architect works closely with stakeholders to co-create solutions to the problems the Performance Detective has quantified.

The key to this work is that the Architect works ‘outside-in’ to design for the ‘100’. This means starting with potential ‘70’ solutions (in the flow of work) and then with ‘20’ and finally, where necessary, with ‘10’ (formal learning) solutions.

All the while the Performance Architect is focused on performance goals and team and organisational requirements.

The Performance Master Builder – Blaze

The Performance Master Builder’s role is to work on detailed development of solutions identified by the Architect that can best address the organisational issues and performance gaps.

Again, this is a co-creation process together with stakeholders and high performers. Solution development is likely to be drawn from a wide range of options – including individual and social performance support, information sources, resources, tools, communities and others.

The Performance Game Changer – Tempo

The Game Changer is a role where parts may not sit within HR or L&D at all.

The Game Changer has dual responsibility; to manage the implementation plan for solutions; and to manage the change processes to ensure implementation is fully embedded and sustainable.  This second responsibility will include internal marketing and communications. It is likely that MarComms professionals are best positioned to lead this work.

The Performance Tracker – Steel

The Performance Tracker role needs to work in lock-step with the Performance Detective.

Without understanding how success will be measured, it is impossible for the Performance Detective to determine the opportunity for improvement. A clear set of metrics to aim at is vital at the outset.

The Performance Tracker overcomes one of the challenges that many L&D teams have faced – obtaining meaningful measures of success by building a plan with the stakeholders based on clearly identified outputs right from the start.

And did you notice how the roles on the diagram also start and end with Steel, following the seasons in terms of the whole performance analysis procesMagic!



I believe that the industry is coming in to a time when analysts and detail conscious people will be required to take advantage of the biggest  trend of personalised learning and AI.

I think we will need to look outside our industry for these people and the additional skills they will require such as app development, programme, data mining, API integrations and more.

Managers leading L&D teams need to start acting now to make the biggest organisational  impact they can with the emergence of personalised learning.


Next steps:

  • Contact Bloom for a free team profile using the Talent Dynamics profiling tool
  • Attend the Charles Jenning webinar to hear about 70:20:10 and the different roles
  • Come and see Charles at the Bloom – HRINZ breakfast talking on Shifting Perspectives : Building High Performance in the Workplace
  • Send your steel team members to the Performance Detective workshop and learn how to gather data required to make personalised learning  a reality in your organisation

To access a webinar I did on the industry Learning Trends 2017-2020



Charles Jennings Workshop
Creating Value through 70:20:10
The Performance Detective at Work
March 15th, 9am-5pm
Charles Jennings Breakfast Brief
Shifting Perspectives: Building High Performance in the Workplace
March 16th, 7:30-9:30am
Charles Jennings Webinar
From Learning to Performance: Creating Real Value using the 70:20:10 model
February 22nd, 12-1pm
eLearnz Learning Technology Web Summit July 17th, 9am-5pm
eLearnz eLab July 18th & 19th, 9am-5pm
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