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What does Learning & Development do?

Imagine you just started a new job, whether in your current organisation or a new one. This means you are bound to encounter some unfamiliar tasks. If you’re anything like us, you will seek ways to learn and bridge your knowledge gaps.


In bigger companies, this learning is facilitated by a dedicated person or team. They specialize in everything from training and online courses, to coaching and mentoring, leadership development, and so much more. These are your Learning and Development professionals (or L&D for short).


But what exactly do L&D practitioners do all day? Certainly, they aren't just hosting team-building trust falls or endlessly rearranging training room chairs. This is what we’ll tackle in this article. Let’s go!

Table of Contents:


How does L&D bring value to the business?


To understand what L&D does, we first need to understand how they bring value to the business. In other words, why even bother? There are some good reasons:

  • Upskill employees and ensure they have the necessary competencies to perform their roles effectively. This, in turn, leads to improved overall performance and personal productivity.

  • Nurture leaders and equip them with the skills they need to lead their teams, manage projects and drive organisational success.

  • Boost employee engagement and satisfaction by investing and creating learning opportunities for everyone.

  • Cultivate and promote a continuous learning culture in which employees are motivated to acquire new skills and knowledge.

  • Support any and all organisational changes by preparing employees for new processes, technologies, and strategies, ensuring smoother transition and continued operational efficiency.

  • Improve teamwork and collaboration which are essential for efficient and effective operations in modern businesses.


Key L&D responsibilities


The most common association people have with Learning and Development is training. But that is only a very small part of what L&D does. As a matter of fact, most L&D practitioners don’t set foot in a training room for months on end, if at all. So then, what do they do?


The simple answer is that they follow the L&D cycle. This is a four-stage act that transforms raw skills into polished talents.

The L&D Cycle - analysis, design, delivery and evaluation


The first step is to identify the learning needs. In other words, who needs to learn, what do they need to learn, when should they learn it and what’s the best way for them to learn it. Imagine L&D as detectives sniffing out and uncovering the mystery of missing skills, knowledge or behaviours. At this stage, L&D usually finds out whether training is the right way forward or whether something else is needed, like a workshop, teamwork, coaching, job aid, online course, or something else entirely.


Next, they morph into artists, designing learning programs with the creativity of Picasso, but thankfully, more comprehensible. In this stage, creativity takes the front seat. Our L&D experts become architects of knowledge, designing tailor-made learning programs. They mix and match learning methods and content, creating a blueprint for success.


Then it's time for delivery. This is where the magic happens. L&D practitioners step into the spotlight, delivering engaging and effective learning (be that training or something else, like an action learning set, a project, a mentor, etc.). They're like conductors of an orchestra, ensuring each note of learning resonates with the audience.


The final act involves critical analysis. In other words – evaluation. Here L&D don the hat of a meticulous scientist, evaluating the impact of the learning activity with the precision of a lab tech analyzing a Petri dish. It's the feedback loop that keeps the cycle spinning, ensuring continuous improvement and growth.


Through this cycle, they transform mundane corporate learning into an art form, ensuring that employees don't just learn, but thrive. For example, L&D could turn a dull Excel training into an exciting treasure hunt for formulas. Or they might organize a team cooking challenge that sizzles with teamwork and leadership lessons.


Typical L&D Activities


L&D activities stem from their responsibilities. In other words, almost everything L&D does should be part of one of the 4 stages of the L&D cycle.


Here is a list of some of the more common activities L&D usually engage in:


  1. Training Needs Analysis - Identifying skills gaps and learning requirements within the organization.

  2. Curriculum Design - Creating comprehensive training programs tailored to specific needs.

  3. Content Development - Developing and updating training materials, such as manuals, online modules, and videos.

  4. Workshop Facilitation - Leading interactive training sessions and workshops.

  5. E-Learning Development - Designing and implementing online learning courses.

  6. Coaching and Mentoring - Providing one-on-one guidance to help employees develop specific competencies.

  7. Performance Consulting - Working with managers to address performance issues and improve team efficiency.

  8. Leadership Development Programs - Designing and conducting training for current and future leaders.

  9. Organizational Development Initiatives - Implementing strategies to improve the overall effectiveness of the organization.

  10. Employee Onboarding - Structuring and delivering orientation programs for new hires.

  11. Career Pathing and Succession Planning - Assisting in the planning of employee career progression and leadership succession.

  12. Competency Modeling - Defining the skills and behaviors required for various roles within the organization.

  13. Learning Management System (LMS) Administration - Managing the platform that delivers and tracks e-learning.

  14. Employee Engagement Programs - Creating initiatives to increase job satisfaction and loyalty.

  15. Diversity and Inclusion Training - Conducting programs that promote a more inclusive workplace.

  16. Compliance Training - Ensuring employees are up-to-date with legal and ethical standards.

  17. Team Building Activities - Organizing events and exercises to enhance teamwork and collaboration.

  18. Data Analysis and Reporting - Evaluating training effectiveness and reporting on key metrics.

  19. Vendor Management - Selecting and managing external training providers and resources.

  20. Continuous Learning Promotion - Encouraging and facilitating ongoing professional development among employees.

  21. Team meetings - Discussing team strategies, objectives, and feedback received from learning initiatives.

  22. Collaboration with other departments - Ensuring alignment with organizational goals.

  23. Continuing education - Staying updated with the latest L&D trends and technologies

  24. Stakeholder engagement - managing everyone involved in learning, from employees, to their managers, HR and the Executive Board.


So if you see your local friendly L&D person running in and out of meetings or staring at their computer screen with a weird expression on their face, chances are they are doing one (or more!) of the activities in this list.




And there you have it! We've peeled back the curtain to reveal the dynamic world of Learning and Development. From the initial spark of identifying learning needs, to the creative artistry of designing engaging programs, and the grand finale of delivering and evaluating them – L&D is far from just fun and games.


We've also discovered that L&D practitioners are involved in a whole lot more than just training sessions. They're the architects behind the scenes, meticulously crafting learning experiences, fostering leadership, and championing a culture of continuous improvement. Whether they're analyzing data to fine-tune their strategies, collaborating across departments, or simply keeping their skills sharp with the latest trends, L&D professionals are always on the move.

So, the next time you bump into your L&D team, remember, they're not just planning the next team-building event or wrestling with PowerPoint slides. They're the unsung heroes shaping the learning landscape of your organization, ensuring everyone from the newbie to the seasoned pro continues to grow, thrive, and excel. Keep an eye out for their next act of learning wizardry!



If you're itching to dive deeper and truly master the art of L&D, we've got just the thing for you!


🚀 Join our comprehensive online video course "Learning and Development Fundamentals". This course is your gateway to becoming an L&D superstar. Packed with practical insights, real-world examples, and interactive content, it's designed to take you from a curious learner to an L&D maestro.


Whether you're just starting out in L&D or looking to polish your skills, this course is your one-stop destination. 🌟 Enroll now and embark on an exciting journey of learning and growth. See you there!


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