3 Principles for Redesigning L&D Programs for Now and the Future: Highlights from a Chat with Lendlease and LinkedIn APAC

June 17, 2020

woman sitting at desk looking at a laptop and book

COVID-19 has irrevocably changed our world. While no one can say with any form of certainty what the post-COVID-19 world of work will look like, one thing is for sure—L&D programs won’t look the same again. In fact, 74% of L&D professionals say their focus is on rebuilding or reshaping their organization for the future. To explore the changing L&D landscape, Jason Laufer, Senior Director of LinkedIn Learning and Glint in APAC, hosted a Live with LinkedIn Learning webinar on 4 June with Maree Howard, Head of Global Learning at Lendlease, and Ann Ann Low, Senior Director of L&D (APAC) at LinkedIn.

From the hour-long discussion, it became clear that Lendlease and LinkedIn share three common principles when it comes to redesigning their learning programs for now and the future.

1. Always scan the environment for signals

With change happening so rapidly, Maree and Ann Ann emphasized the need for L&D to tune into sentiments at the top (as business leaders respond to the situation) and on the ground (as learner needs and behaviors change).

“Plans are plans, but if you’re not constantly scanning your environment and shifting your plans accordingly, you’ll miss the boat,” said Maree. For example, when the Lendlease workforce began working from home, Maree observed that many employees were visiting the organization’s COVID-19 microsite every day for updates. The L&D team moved quickly to curate relevant learning content and feature links to them on the microsite. It’s a marketing-inspired move that Maree describes as “going where our learners are.”

Adding on, Ann Ann recommends proactively seeking out employee signals through pulse checks and polls. “We find that learners are now more willing than ever to give feedback. When we allow them to tell us what they need and listen closely to what they’re saying, we can better direct our efforts,” she pointed out.

2. Experiment with the learning experience

The journey into unchartered territory is one of experimentation and adaptation—or, as Maree put it, “being comfortable with knowing that we don’t know.” While emerging learning themes such as working and leading remotely, change management, as well as health and wellness, are guiding their content refresh efforts, both speakers highlighted that the learning delivery and user experience have to be reconsidered as well.

“We can’t just port classroom training onto an online platform and expect it to work with the same level of effectiveness,” said Ann Ann. To transform instructor-led training into effective virtual learning experiences, she uses several guiding questions:

  • How can the content be assembled so that it meets learning objectives while keeping learners engaged?

  • Is the content sufficiently modular? Is it too long for online consumption?

  • How can group learning be enabled? Should we have formal or informal virtual breakouts?

  • How can we motivate learners? Would a dashboard that tracks progress be helpful?

These principles also help address the issue of video fatigue. Maree and Ann Ann suggest “right-sizing” online learning content to match learner attention spans—at Lendlease, it’s 45 minutes; at LinkedIn, it’s 60 minutes.

3. Tighten the link between L&D efforts and business objectives

With 66% of L&D professionals believing that the function has become a much more strategic part of their organizations, Maree and Ann Ann discussed a variety of ways to demonstrate the value of L&D to the business. The alignment of the learning roadmap with business plans was one example.

“One good indicator of L&D’s impact on the business is how we are building employee capabilities for the future. This can be quantified by the number of business-critical roles that can be filled by internal talent because of their learning and development journey, or how L&D is accelerating the leadership succession pipeline for the business,” suggested Ann Ann.

Get the full insights by watching the webinar recording here. This webinar was part of Live with LinkedIn Learning, a new virtual series that tackles the challenges that are top-of-mind for L&D professionals today.