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Another Year Over and What Have You Done?

Here we are—well into 2017, another year over, and what have we achieved? What impact have we made? What have we learned?

If you read the various reports published this time of the year (2016 ATD State of the Industry Report, Unlocking Potential: Towards Maturity 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report, just to name two), not much has changed.

  • We are still spending time facilitating a high level of face-to-face sessions, even though we all thought and hoped that e-learning or online learning would affect this.

  • We still tend to confuse content delivery with learning (even if it is bite-sized), frequently talk about and treat learning as an event, and pay insufficient attention to post-course proficiency development.

  • We are still struggling with finding the right learning management system (LMS) that suits our organization’s needs.

  • We are still grappling with how to embed gamification into our learning offerings.

  • We are still fascinated with MOOCs, and some people are asking us why L&D has not embraced them. 

  • And of course the perennial favorite—we are still looking for those numbers to add up. Is it 70-20-10? 60-30-10? Maybe it could be 70-20-8 and “You can keep the change”!

But is it all doom and gloom? Far from it. As a profession, we have never been in a better position. 
We have dispensed with numerous Ponzi schemes (thanks @donaldclark for sharing this term) and concepts such as happy sheets, learning styles, NLP, and MBTI to name a few. However, the challenge remains for us to continue to identify and call out these fads, buzzwords, and schemes when we see them.

We are starting to see the introduction of interactive video in e-learning courses, the seamless integration of social learning within the LMS, the capturing and reporting of informal learning via xAPI statements, the establishment of the learning record store and the appearance of some great learning curation tools, such as Anders Pink and Degreed.

From a process perspective we are also seeing concepts such as ADDIE being tweaked, and in some cases overhauled, to meet agile learning development needs.


What L&D does need is more of us to challenge it, in a respectful and courteous manner, and less backslapping and nepotism. As a profession we need to query more, research or analyze, and adopt processes such as triangulation. We need to share and interact to continue to model the behaviors we wish our organizations adopt. After all, we need to be the shining light of learning.

L&D is in a very strong position. We are not a doomed lot. We continue to deliver results and have an impact on people’s lives. We continue to innovate and create—something that is expected from us and that we must continue to do.

We especially need to proactively seek out, learn, apply, and refine evidence-based practices. It’s important that we keep what works while simultaneously harnessing digital technologies to engineer even more effective strategies and techniques.

This year will bring another bagful of opportunities dressed as virtual reality, augmented reality, bite-sized learning, collaborative learning, and curated learning. Which one you pick out of the bag is up to you, but please be bold—give it a go. 

I recently hosted the Learning at Work conference in Sydney, Australia, and as part of my opening remarks I urged and encouraged the profession to step up.

My call of embrace, explore, and enjoy is one that I am hoping will also resonate with all of you, that it spurs you into action and inspires you to take the next step in 2017.

© 2017 ATD, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.


About the Author
Con Sotidis is a solutions consultant with Kineo (Asia Pacific). He works with organizations to help them achieve their business goals by developing effective and efficient learning and performance strategies and solutions. Sotidis spent more than 15 years as a director of learning and development in the Australian public sector and in various senior learning and performance consultant roles. He is a fellow of the Institute of Learning Professionals Australia, a certified professional member of the Australian Human Resources Institute, and a member of the Association of Talent Development.   Email: Twitter: @learnkotch LinkedIn: Website:
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