Monday, September 22, 2014

Subject Matter Experts or Learning Experts.

As I've stated many times, even in the title of this blog,I am a professional.
My profession is that of Workplace Learning and Performance, also know and Training & Development and more recently Talent Development.

I have a deep understanding of many areas of expertise in my profession, from Instructional Design and Training Delivery to Change Management, Knowledge Management, Evaluating Learning Impact and Coaching.

I have had that deep understanding certified by my professional body and since 2011 have been proud to claim and use the CPLP designation.

So clearly I am qualified to be a banker, or an insurance agent, or a system developer, or a biotech researcher.

My argument for that is simple.
Over the last few months when I have been looking for my next opportunity to help create a world and a workplace that works better, I've seen a lot of job postings.  Time after time I've seen roles where the responsibilities are a great match for my skills and experience. However when they list the necessary experience the first things on the list looks like

  • 5-7 years in the <insert specific here> industry
  • deep understanding of the day to day role of a <insert title of person doing the job>

It's only towards the bottom of the list I start to see things like.

  • Previous experience in a training or similar role a plus.

In a previous career I used to be a programmer. I would often hear my managers bemoan the fact that senior people in the accounting team would spend hours, days even weeks, building complex spreadsheets to be fed from multiple sources and then use those spreadsheets to make decisions on the business. They wailed that these spreadsheets had no formal QA process to check that they were correct. They pointed out stats on the web that showed the very high percentage of these that had errors in them. In essence they were saying. Why can't they leave this to us, the programming professionals?

And now those same IT managers along with managers across the board so often but Subject Matter Expertise above expertise in Learning & Development for L&D roles.

I've been fortunate a few times to work for managers who understand the importance of balancing the in house subject Matter Expertise they already have with someone who knows how people learn, what the current best practice is in the profession and how to pull the knowledge from an SME and use it to create engaging and effective learning.

I'm looking forward to doing that again, and again.

Happy Learning


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