The Changing of Job Roles

Part 1

As part of the first series of 'Shaping the Future of L&D', we've gathered the latest insights and research into the changing of job roles within the L&D industry.

We interviewed the following thought leaders to gather their opinions in this area.

Joan Keevill, Director at Designs on Learning and Chairperson at the eLearning Network

Spencer Holmes, Director at Totem Learning

Nick Bate, Director at Blue Eskimo

Dan Nolan, L&D Consultant at Virtual College

Research and Insights

Preparing for new roles that don't exist yet

Now that we have data, we need to think about the skills, knowledge and competencies to support people with the skills they need before we give them the job. 75% of long-term job success depends on mastering and developing soft skills.

The holistic role of learning professionals

The role of the learning professional has become far more holistic; spanning multiple disciplines and areas of expertise. This is more than changes in job titles, it’s a change in approach from the short-term delivery of classroom courses to the longer-term view of skills development and the cultivation of emerging leaders.

Upskilling into multi skilled, hybrid roles

Learning leaders need to adopt the role of a ‘performance engineer’ who look holistically at business objectives, relationships, systems, technology and culture and how they fit together, rather than just providing products.

Increase in a remote and distant workforce

Managing and upskilling employees who work in remote locations requires the application of specific strategies and tactics. A few things to consider are, Time Zones and Tech Tools such as communicating to people in different locations.

Joan Keevill

Key points

  • It’s more important to utilise experts who specialise across numerous roles, rather than those who focus on one.
  • Organisations need to do two things: understand what roles there should be, and look at where their staff are now.
“building the right team with the right skills and people who want to learn”
  • Learning skills is more valuable than learning knowledge as they are transferable to different topics and areas.
  • Team management is key to the changing of L&D roles. It is important they understand team strengths and utilise accordingly.

Spencer Holmes

Key points

  • L&D needs to challenge two things – the opinions of key stakeholders, and traditional models of learning (that focus on learning objects over business objectives).
  • Gather as much feedback as you can early in the process - it will help strengthen the content you're developing.
“Everyone can be better at curiosity – TED talks is a great example of how to make people more curious"
  • The L&D process should be transparent and involve everyone, whether that is helping to curate content or having access to all information involved in the decision making.
  • In order to cultivate curiosity, you have to allow the time to be curious.

Nick Bate

Key points


  • Skillsets focusing on business acumen and stakeholder engagement is paramount. Understanding what senior leaders need is just as important as understanding learners’ needs.
  • L&D is experiencing a rise in Agile methodology, as the need to quickly react and adapt to challenges becomes more prominent.

Dan Nolan

Key points


  • Technology is driving the ever-increasing speed of change.
  • Technology will begin disrupting industries such as finance and law, so it’s important to begin upskilling and reskilling those more traditional roles.
  • As it’s becoming more essential to learn quickly, adapt to new environments and ‘get better at getting better’, cultivating a growth mindset is an important part of L&D.
  • If they want to avoid stagnation, organisations need to cultivate learning cultures that encourage innovation and growth.

As part of our latest series, we spoke to industry leaders about the future of learning and development. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to be the first to see our latest interviews.

Don't miss out on the other topics already discussed in this series. If you haven't caught up yet watch them here.

Virtual College 2019