L&D: A Black Sheep No More

September 30, 2022
4 min
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L&D is Quickly Becoming a Center for Growth


I am a marketer and over the last year, I have been learning from L&D professionals; studying the crossover between L&D and Marketing. We all know now that the days of the one-size-fits-all for different audiences are done, content needs to be adapted to the learner and their learning style and personalization are emerging. 

Many L&D leaders are fighting for innovation as a part of their function, especially in the ever-evolving corporate landscape.

And it makes sense, we’ve seen this before. We saw the same development with content marketing as it became increasingly digital. The same methods can now be applied to an internal audience as our work moves into the cloud and digital workplace. 

L&D practitioners want more

Today, not many L&D leaders have a seat at the executive table and feel like they are viewed as a cost center. To earn that seat, they’re looking for marketing-like data-driven tools.

L&D: A Black Sheep No More

Bottomline, L&D leaders no longer want to take orders – they’re striving to become architects of change. Most got into the field to connect with people, and create engaging and inspiring programs, not dissimilar to content marketers.

L&D is best when they understand the human truth inside our organizations and can meet people where they are. To achieve this, L&D practitioners need analytics that provides scalability and measurability comparable to established marketing tools. And use those insights to build scalable programs that can be agile as they learn from the data and how the content is being engaged by the target employee audience. 

L&D faces challenges familiar to seasoned marketers

Much like traditional advertising, classroom training and other classic change tactics have varying levels of effectiveness with anecdotal data. In the ’80s and 90’s the saying went, “50% of our marketing is wasted, we just don’t know which 50%.” It reflected the uncertainty of the methods and the inability to get reliable data.  

L&D: A Black Sheep No More

Many have forgotten, but If you weren’t selling Pepsi, marketing was once viewed as a cost center and a luxury. All this changed with the transition to digital and we’re starting to see similar patterns emerge with L&D. The data and analytics are now available to target select audiences to receive relevant learning content. 

People often note the extreme relevance that ads are able to achieve today. Now imagine delivering learning content with that degree of timing and relevance and the improvements that could make to the performance of people in any number of roles. 

It’s time for L&D leaders to challenge expectations

There is a strong trend of progressive L&D professionals and HR execution roles thinking of themselves as internal audience marketers and change agents. They’re thinking deeply about how to promote values and strategy to accomplish organizational goals. How do we get people to engage in the critical learning and upskilling they need to be successful? 

L&D: A Black Sheep No More

Many know that only 12% of employees apply new skills learned in current L&D programs to their jobs. Today’s employees often learn uniform topics, on L&D’s schedule, and at a time when it bears little immediate relevance to their role — their learning suffers as a result. New strategies are needed and the technology is here to bring them to life. 

L&D now has the opportunity to utilize data to understand employee behavior better than managers and executives. They can now add tremendous value as a partner to the business unit, and then apply this data to develop precise learning objectives delivered to the right employees at the right time. L&D practitioners can then make employee data actionable by applying nudge technology that delivers relevant, engaging content to those who need it. Welcome to the world of campaign-based learning and change at scale. 

To see how ProHabits can help you challenge expectations — contact

Hank Ostholthoff
Co-Founder of ProHabits

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