Let’s Live Our Best L&D Lives In 2020!

Are you doing work that you’re proud of and your audience finds value in? If not, are you able to change the circumstances to get there?

I had several different topics in mind for this “Last Word” column, but since this is the end of the calendar year, it seemed appropriate to do both a bit of looking back over this year and looking ahead to 2020. (I know, I’m not unique or trailblazing with this, but I believe there is value in the exercise.)

What do I mean by “Live Our Best L&D Lives”? Of primary importance is: Are you doing work that you’re proud of and your audience finds value in? If not, are you able to change the circumstances to get there? Often, it takes very little to make a huge difference. For example, you know your digital content is stuck in the “Click Next” button and could be taken to another place. Have you explored whether the learning population actually needs the content anymore? And whether this is the best way for them to learn it? Maybe a blended approach is needed due to system enhancements, changes in the organization, etc.

Conversely, with classroom instruction that is a “standard” in the learning path, how long has it been since the entire agenda was blown up…and reimagined with fresh eyes and hearts, making decisions about what the learners really need, timeframes that make sense, components that could be moved out of the classroom in one or more ways, whether the right subject matter experts (SMEs) are involved in content development and/or facilitation, etc.?

What about the design and development workflow? Have you been skipping steps? I’m talking about things such as moving right to developing a course using a rapid development tool instead of doing the front-end analysis, establishing priorities, and getting clear on outcomes the way we’re supposed to. Then working out the design and not assuming it’ll be just like all previous courses developed. What about the evaluation plan? You realize this is really an iteration plan, right? (Of course, you have to both capture the feedback and review it for this to be so.) To this end, be sure to build a schedule for review of all learning content, affiliated feedback, and iteration of the content. This is one of the ways our work stays current and relevant.


And now, let’s check in on 2019 and look ahead to 2020:

  • What accomplishments are you celebrating?
  • What were you able to mark as finished this year?
  • What did you learn in 2019?
  • What do you hope to celebrate in early 2020?
  • Which new skills do you hope to add to your repertoire in 2020?
  • How close are you to fully unleashing your brilliance on the world in new ways?
  • Is there anyone you hope to meet and/or work with next year?
  • Is it time to think about making a venue change?

If you are thinking about making a change, before you do so, consider what is important to you, your values with respect to the work of the organization and the content you’ll be working with. Doing this will change the way you approach the search.

All of my best to you for finishing 2019 strong and starting 2020 off right!

Dawn J. Mahoney, CPLP, owns Learning in The White Space LLC, a freelance talent development (“training”) and instructional design consultancy. She is passionate about developing people through better training, better instructional design, and better dialog. Mahoney asks the tough questions to ensure the training content is relevant to the work and performance expectations. She does this work because she loves to see the moment when the learning “dawns” on her learners. If you need help, get in touch with her at: dawnjmahoney@gmail.com.

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.