Home > DPS, EPSS, LES, LMS, Performance Support, Rants & Ramblings, Technology > Is 2018 Going To Be a Step-Change Year for L&D?

Is 2018 Going To Be a Step-Change Year for L&D?

This morning I stumbled over an image posted by Guy Wallace of Pursuing Performance, another valued thought-leader I follow. His post stoked a rant. Here are both…the image…and the rant.

What struck me was the simplicity of both the header and footer on this image. The header I get. The footer is much scarier in its implications. The implication that worries me the most is the presence of L&D not keeping pace with technology and thus leaving a vacuum where it’s needed most – the Point of Work. To correct that absence 2018 needs to be the year L&D undergoes a Step-Change to evolve and embrace the entirety of the learning AND performance ecosystem that exists in every company.

The English Oxford dictionary defines “step change” as… (in business or politics) a significant change in policy or attitude, especially one that results in an improvement or increase.

No question that technology L&D can bring to bear has changed. Sadly, the Training Paradigm that has L&D locked down has only partially embraced the changes in technology. The tech that HAS been embraced is improving the access to training, mobility, and the social/collaborative engagement to training. Training solutions have decreased in size. Training is more engaging. Training has been mobilized. These are all great enhancements gained through adoptions of new technology by L&D.

That said…there is a problem that still exists – It’s still all about Training.

Training does NOT sustain performance at the Point of Work – it only drives Potential.

The step-change I referenced in my last post “It’s Time to Go Ninja” points to where L&D has not shifted strategy, policy or attitudes to support the segment of the organization that funds and perpetuates L&D as a cost center.

Guy’s image nails what L&D still needs to do. And it will take a combination of methodology and technology to accomplish it. The technology is not new LMSs or LESs. Those both carry new tech innovations…but…they target access to and enhancements to training experiences. They are not capable of supporting Point of Work as integrations into the workflow.

That technology is Digital Performance Support (DPS), and the adoption of DPS technology is a step-change out of scope and charter for most L&D organizations. DPS utilization, discovery tactics, asset design/development, and integration into both Point of Work workflows AND formal learning are all out of scope of existing skills…as well as policy and attitudes that exist.

IS DPS a silver bullet? Hardly, but I’ve not seen a Call Center CRM integration yet…or a HRM implementation…or an Electronic Health Records implementation where training was not reduced by nearly half…calls to Help Desk slashed by similar volumes…customer and employee satisfaction improved…employee turnover decreased…and more that is directly impacted when this performance technology…not learning technologyperformance technology is properly sized and integrated. Not to mention that all performance assets are ready-made for formal training and documentation time squashed by well over half.

There is urgency to this step-change requirement that needs to address Moments of Need at the Point of Work when they manifest and when they manifest. Productivity and profitability are hard-wired into this mission-critical capability. These requirements are currently out of scope of the Training Paradigm regardless of the new training system technology implemented.

A re-focus on workforce capability must shift from enabling the workforce to KNOW to enabling performance outcomes from DOING…and doing only really happens at the Point of Work.

The door is standing wide open…L&D or some other workforce performance tasked entity needs to step-change right on through it…sooner than later.

Wow…only January 5th and I’ve already ripped out a rant to start the year. But then, methinks I could just blame this one on Guy Wallace. [winks…]

Thanks for reading!

Gary G. Wise
Workforce Performance Strategist & Coach
(317) 437-2555


  1. January 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Oh, I wish it were true. Not that there’s zero hope, but I don’t see the groundswell necessary to move most of L&D forward. There are leaders, for sure. But they are the minority. And I agree most wholeheartedly that Performance Support (DPS) should be examined as the default choice in place of Learning/Training content.

    Speaking of DPS (today’s EPSS), you might enjoy what Joe Harless had to say about Job Aids (yesterday’s EPSS), back in 1990, in the audio captured at the NSPI (yesterday’s ISPI) Conference, at: https://eppic.biz/2017/11/14/ld-pi-back-to-the-future/ His client’s reaction to getting a Job Aid instead of Training only needs an update in the terminology used to be made current.

    Best wishes for you and your rant to have some big time Performance impact ASAP in the New Year!


    • January 5, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks Guy! I’ve seen the Harless clip…in fact, I will go so far as to blame Joe and his “Accomplishment-Based Curriculum Design” course taken in the late 80s. It was that Kool-Aid that made me a believer. Never mind Dana Robinson piling on later. There was no hope for me then. 🤓 Keep up the good work, Guy! Have a great 2018 yourself!

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