ATD Blog

Are You Part of a Modern L&D Organization?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Being part of a modern learning and development (L&D) organization can be easier than you think. It does not mean you have to buy and learn to use all the latest high-tech apps, software, and e-whatever. Instead, it means looking at the role of L&D through a different lens.

Most L&D organizations are caught up in the rat race of trying to deliver more and more training to help employees stay up-to-date with their job needs. For L&D people, the job is overwhelming! We get one training program deployed only to discover that it’s already out of date because of a new software update or competitive market change. 

 Further, employees are not very happy with what L&D is delivering. Only 7 percent say that L&D even influences their learning. Now look at employee satisfaction ratings for L&D. Some studies show that 18 percent of employees respond favorably when asked about their L&D organization, but 44 percent respond unfavorably! Who wants to work in an organization with such numbers?

Corporate leadership wants L&D to succeed. They are giving us more money because they don’t want there to be any capability gaps in the workforce. Spending on training increased 15 percent in 2013; the highest growth rate in seven years.

We in L&D need to rethink our job and take a different approach. We need to stop thinking that we can control all the learning content, create all employee training from scratch, and be the one-source provider for our employees. This is step 1 in becoming a modern L&D organization.


Step 2 is deciding to orchestrate learning solutions that go beyond formal classes (online or face-to-face), include social content sourcing, and enable immediate learning when the need arises. Step 3 is gaining legitimacy for L&D to operate in an all-new way. Using new scorecard measures, such as the Net Promoter Score, is a starting place.

Modernizing is more than just upskilling; modernizing is rethinking what we do and deliver, all with the common goal of improving workplace performance for the benefit of our employees and our business.


We welcome your thoughts on the work of a modern L&D organization, and the measures we can use to track our progress and success.

Interested in learning more about how to make the shift to a modern L&D organization? Join us for the LearnNow: The Modern Learner workshop.

About the Author

Crystal Kadakia is a two-time TEDx speaker, organizational consultant, and best-selling author, known for transforming the toughest workplace changes into exciting possibilities for our digital world. As a consultant, she brings organizations into the digital age, reimagining people strategies with clients in areas such as career development, learning culture, inclusion, leadership development, and employee engagement. Past clients include General Mills, Southern Company,, Sierra Club, and other organizations.

She is the co-creator of the Learning Cluster Design model and the co-author of the related book, Designing for Modern Learning: Beyond ADDIE and SAM (ATD Press, 2020). This model empowers the revolution of the training industry for our Digital Age by showing L&D how to design a set of multiple learning assets, available across the flow of work, to deliver a performance goal on the job.

About the Author

Lisa M.D. Owens is a learning expert who combines her engineering mindset with a deep interest in instructional design and learning sciences to create training that moves business forward. In 2016, Lisa and Crystal Kadakia began researching issues facing L&D in this modern age to discover the next step in the L&D industry’s evolution beyond blended learning. This led to a highly rated ATD LearnNOW program, which then inspired the book they co-authored for ATD Press, Designing for Modern Learning: Beyond ADDIE and SAM. Lisa also co-authored the ATD Press book <em>Leaders as Teachers Action Guide , which is based on her experiences as global training leader at Procter & Gamble.

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