Emerging Learning and Development Practices to Provide Tailored Learning Solutions and Drive Business Results.

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Wowledge Expert Team
Principal level
127 Wows earned

This guide is part of a progression set comprised of Core, Advanced, and Emerging Learning & Development practices.

What it is 

The Learning and Development function is a highly sophisticated and direct contributor to business success. It can become a trusted and proactive performance improvement partner, with solutions created and adapted to the specific needs of targeted audiences at the individual, team, and organization levels. Consultation with the L&D function becomes the standard, with new offerings tied closely to achieving specified business objectives. A formalized and structured process is followed that brings a disciplined approach to issue identification, root cause analysis, solution creation and testing, and measurement that clarifies the extent of improvement.   

Leading companies use advanced technology solutions that tailor learning more closely to the individual learner's needs, identifying knowledge and skill gaps and then adapting as the learner becomes more capable. In addition, they leverage learner-centric processes that respond to knowledge, skill, and ability shortcomings more quickly with custom solutions that drive improved performance and productivity. Emerging technologies that promise more direct and on-the-job preparation or embedded/in-situ learning become part of the learning landscape and create opportunities for greater learning impact through proactive experimentation and innovation. Similarly, using advanced solution generation methodologies that directly engage the learner and quickly create test prototypes gives the organization a capability for fast and responsive learning offerings.

Why use it 

Leveraging new and emerging techniques and technologies enables the organization to respond to rapidly changing work environments and demands as automation, AI, and the information explosion change the very nature of individual roles and responsibilities. With the ‘war for talent’ and projected shortfalls in available talent continuing to rage, learning and development are increasingly taking center stage as an internal skill developer and the employee attraction and retention machine. Especially critical is the tailoring of learning solutions for key talent segments of the business – those roles that disproportionately impact the advancement and achievement of priority business goals and objectives. By understanding and addressing their needs and assigning higher priority to the development of their learning requirements, an enhancement of their ability to drive the meeting of business-crucial results can be achieved.

Similarly powerful is the use of design thinking and rapid prototyping methodologies for creating new and highly responsive learning solutions that meet the needs of a few targeted employee groups or testing concepts that can be brought to the broader employee population. In either case, the agility that allows the L&D team to exercise only increases its relative value to the organization. 

The fundamentals of this premise are the shift to a formal and consultative approach to understanding where the organization needs to go, where it is now, where the gaps exist, and why the gaps exist.  In such a rapidly changing external environment, the ability to accurately assess lower productivity and performance situations and then quickly deliver learning where and when needed represents a competitive advantage. Such a capability will arise from a combination of advanced human judgment and cognitive technologies. This brings significantly heightened credibility and trust to the L&D function and creates solutions that directly address business and operational needs and challenges.


Adopting these practices brings broadened and impactful capabilities to the L&D function, with a mix of emerging methodologies and technologies. By embracing disciplined approaches to building better tools and offerings that are closely aligned with and easily recognized as linked to specific business objectives and initiatives, significantly more credibility and support are assigned to the function. Developing more customized solutions targeted for certain strategically prioritized employee groups or segments increases the likelihood of business impact. Implementing new technologies creates more individualized solutions that can adapt to any organization member and personalize training content or learning portfolio suggestions to their current level of knowledge or skill, preferred topics and subject matter, and career ambitions. Such responsiveness promises to meet employee desires and organizational capability growth needs simultaneously, driving employee engagement and satisfaction.

Practice guides at this level

Conducting performance consulting-based learning needs assessments for specialized solutions.

Resolving workplace performance shortcomings by using a disciplined approach to learning needs assessments, looking beyond the immediate causes of issues.

Tailoring learning offerings to critical workforce segments for increased impact on the highest value roles.

Identifying current and evolving knowledge, skill, and ability requirements of critical workforce segments to prioritize and meet their needs through learning and development programs quickly.

Deploying emerging technologies to boost learning content and delivery for richer and more robust skills acquisition.

Evaluating the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence and virtual reality, to change how learning and development is delivered to best meet individual needs. 

Leveraging “design thinking” and “rapid prototyping” for fast, more employee-centered, and responsive learning and development.

Gaining an enhanced understanding of the needs of learners and how to design learning and development programs that best suit those preferences and needs.

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