Previously I struggled to label myself when I was asked that all-familiar question ‘What do you do?’
Mention ‘training’ and you’re seen as ‘the guy at the front of a classroom’. Mention ‘e-learning’ and you see the disappointment in their eyes as they start to relate you to the boring online training they’ve been made to endure in the past.
Therefore I decided I needed to label myself in a way people would perceive as positive and to do this I needed to do some investigation.
What are typical learning job roles?
I monitored the online job sites and found the following roles were regularly advertised for:
- Instructional Designer
- Instructional Developer
- LMS Administrator
All of these roles I’ve performed at various times in my career, but now I have a team who perform those functions for me. So what is it that I do? To label myself as a Manager would be very restrictive as I typically provide consultancy alongside mentoring and managing my team.
What consultancy do I therefore provide clients?
Typically I am the first point of contact whenever a client inquires about training, and I always ask them three fundamental questions:
- How do you / will you manage the training?
- How do you / will you measure the training?
- How do you / will you develop training?
These simple questions don’t have one line answers. They all lead to further discussions. When hearing answers to these questions what has surprised me is the fact that most large corporations learning infrastructure is often underwhelming, and often very siloed with dozens of learning platforms, inconsistent development approaches and of course very inefficient.
To be fair, the marketplace is littered with multiple solutions and many of these promise new ‘learning technology’ – all very shiny… And this is where te second question is important: How do you / will you measure training?
The measurement of training is rarely addressed. For example, there are some exciting immersive learning experiences being shopped around at the moment. But to spend over $100K on the development of a single training course is quite an ask… And I’m surprised with the lack of consideration on whether or not it is a good return on investment.
This then naturally causes us to look at the third question: How do you / will you develop training? With so many different tools (Articulate, Captivate, Learncast, SAP’s WPB, uPerfom (ProdPak)) – which should you choose? Do you use one? Many? What are the benefits? Why would you chose one, over the other?
Finally, the decisions that are made then impact the long term success of your learning. Disappointingly, content maintenance is rarely considered, and yet has a major impact on the life of the learning content and subsequent costs.
What is a Learning Architect?
In the software world, Software Architects are required to know everything that is out there and everything in the organisation. Their job is to build a roadmap which brings together the tools, platforms and content into a form that is easy to use, scales and delivers a great user experience. Those who I’ve met who fulfill this role are ‘geeks’ and passionate about what they do.
In the Learning world, I don’t see anywhere the term Learning Architect. But if you have several thousand employees, you spend millions of dollars on training with unmanaged, unmeasured content being created daily, seeking out and investing in a Learning Architect will help ensure you create a clear vision, with a clearly defined roadmap, bringing together the learning tools, learning platforms, and learning content into a form that is easy to use, scales and delivers a great learner experience.
I am passionate about managed, measured and effective learning, so when I am asked what I do, I am very pleased to be able to say ‘I am a Learning Architect.’
Author: Graham Hall
Graham Hall has a ton of L&D experience under his belt, having helped numerous small and large businesses to implement successful training solutions over the years. Graham is a passionate advocate of the Reusable Learning Object methodology, which he applies for every client of his company, Learning Specialists.