Is the Training Manager role obsolete?

Training managers in corporate Learning and Development (L&D) departments are facing a number of threats to the continued need for their traditional services in organizations:

  • The tools available in LMSs are getting easier for managers to use. Setting up training courses, assigning staff to training activities and many of the functions that used to require intervention from the central L&D department are now being done by the managers.
  • External libraries of courses can be accessed from the corporate LMS or purchsed and uploaded into the LMS. This reduces the need for custom courses.
  • The authoring tools for courses are getting better and everyone is a videographer so subject matter experts can create a lot of their own courses and learning content for courses. This is reduces the need for L&D to develop courses and assets
  • There is an increasing interest in informal learning and LMSs such as Saba are including support for this and making it easy for managers to setup groups and provide assets for these communities without the involvement of L&D.

This raises the question “Wha should I be doing to ensure that my job is seen to be relevant and adding value to the organization?”.

My suggestion is to leverage the knowledge about your company and work your way up the food chain.

  • Become an expert in instructional design to support the internal SMEs and to evaluate vendors better. Build a corporate library of reusable assets and make these known to internal SMEs and vendors. Offer training sessions and workshops to SMEs to help them design better courses and understand the principles of ID. Keep people updated on your asset library and encourage SMEs to contribute assets to the library. Offer your services to acquire stock assets and manage the licenses of products purcahsed so you do not end up with expensive cliams for misuse of stock images and videos.
    Make sure that photos and videos acquired or created as part of marketing or corporate public relations are licensed for use in training and get them into your library.
  • Become an expert on aligning L&D activities with company and department mandates. This means reaching out to department managers in a proactive way rather than waiting for them to show up with a training requirement. Help them evaluate the training requirement that are raised by changes to their mission or performance goals. Help them evaluate areas where L&D activities can make a difference. Be aware of the courses that are available internally or from external vendors that can be easily integrated with the LMS.
  • Become an expert in curriculm and certification development to help managers define their training needs better and use the LMS more effectively to manage their teams’ L&D progress.
  • Become an expert in competency management to act as a consultant to departments that are having problems with performance or on-boarding.

These are some ideas about how L&D organizations can reengineer their service offerings to stay relevant in a rapidly changing environment.