Transforming Training – A Guide to Creating a Flexible Learning Environment

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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David Mackey was formerly Director of Training at Unisys. Here we have a look at his book, written with Sian Livsey, Transforming Training – A Guide to Creating a Flexible Learning Environment: The Rise of Learning Architects.

David Mackey’s Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Training offered smart, practical advice. However, Transforming Training is altogether a more ambitious project.

Strategic Approach

Mackey and Livsey attempt to identify, through using current best practice examples, the core success factors for organisations that endeavour to become more competitive through structured approaches to learning.

They develop a strategic approach. This acknowledges the challenges presented by the current environment of cultural change. In addition, they erect signposts for learning managers to navigate today’s training and development maze.

Mackey and Livsey quote a colleague:“We’ve become, as a company, pretty good at handling massive, continuous amounts of change. But it’s proving difficult for anything to stay still long enough for us to provide training on it, or even, sometimes, deciding exactly what ‘it’ is.”

Learning Architects

Using this as starting point, the authors explore the learning challenges facing organisations. They define the ‘learning architect’ as an individual cognisant with these challenges. In addition, the learning architect “leads a learning function that brings an intensity of learning to their organisation, learning that plays an irreplaceable role in the development of the organisation’s performance, culture and values.”

To be clear, the authors have not coined the term learning architect. It gained currency in e-learning environments. However, these days it also describes wider, more strategic corporate learning and development roles.

Case histories and practical suggestions

The book opens by discussing current challenges and introducing their version of the earning architect. Part One also contains sections such as ‘A journey to learning excellence’ and ‘managing learning without a team.’ Case histories and practical suggestions stop these sections from being merely aspirational.

In Part Two, training professionals can discover what type of learning architect they might be. They can match themselves against the skills and qualities of a learning architect. These sections suffer from a constant weakness in the book: poor layout and an attempt to cram too much into too little space. It is a pity Part Two is not in workbook format.

Despite this, this book should inspire you. In fact, it may even provoke you to re-evaluate the learning architecture in your organisation and reassess your role as its architect. Therefore, it is well worth a read.

Anne Sexton

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