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I recently heard someone say “to be the smartest person in the room, all you need is a smartphone”. How often do you find yourself with a group of people, mid-conversation, desperate to find something out, simply for someone to interject with “Google it…”?

The role of training in today’s world…

We now live in a world where information is everywhere at the push of a button – just ask Siri or Alexa! Elon Musk famously said recently, “You have more power than the President of the United States did 20 years ago.”

This power should not be taken for granted. Every day we are presented with the opportunity to learn and expand our knowledge with the tap of a finger.

I think it’s important that we support this change in the way training is presented to employees within an organisation – broadening our learning beyond the classroom.

The role of training in today’s world…Learning to learn

In order to successfully achieve this goal – there is an element of ‘learning to learn’ required. We need to ask ourselves: How can we make the most of what we learn?  What can be considered as a learning opportunity?

Once this is identified, we won’t be relying solely on classroom training and we’ll be able to embrace a well-rounded approach to learning – blended learning, hybrid training – whatever you want to call it.

Utilising technology

The technology we have at our disposal is one way to achieve this. For example, online learning can be particularly useful to spark an interest into a specific subject – engaging with learners before they even attend a course.

Creating a social online learning environment can take this even further. A debate can be created during the session and can keep going long after. Not only does this encourage deeper learning, but it can produce a learning culture. People learning from people – proactively.

The role of training in today’s world…

Not one size fits all

Helping people to be more effective and efficient in what they do is a constant priority for any organisation – particularly within a highly competitive marketplace. Layer in the complexity of providing training for a predominantly field-based work force, and it becomes a real challenge.

A key function of any training team should be to facilitate learning by highlighting different learning opportunities to employees. Creating new opportunities and encouraging people to share what they’ve learnt – challenging people to push themselves (and others) further.

The way training is provided needs to be ‘just’ right, ‘just’ in time, ‘just’ enough and ‘just’ for the learner. Workforces are becoming increasingly agile and so the training needs to match this. Speed, agility and innovation are key – but people like it to be personal, not a sheep-dip exercise!

Never lose your curiosity

Whether this is achieved through digital learning, a learning management system or webinars, one thing is vital: never lose your sense of curiosity. Yes, “Google it”. Ask Siri. But never stop asking others questions.

Questions build understanding, they drive innovation and they help us develop through life. Human contact remains an integral part of training, and through coaching and mentoring, employees can learn to achieve their full potential, and this is the aim of anyone working within learning and development.

Working within a team of people passionate about developing others is my passion, and creating the right balance of tools and resources to help people learn and develop is incredibly enjoyable – albeit challenging in today’s world.

If you want to learn more about the training services that Ashfield can provide, please contact Chris Lonsdale at


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