We discussed some amazing new technologies (software) for reinforcement of learning after the fact, and for curating and filtering external content, the kind of learning people find themselves on the web.
We didn't talk much about the role of the manager in the learning and development equation. At the end of the day it is the manager (or supervisor) who is tasked by the organization with determining if an employee's productivity and/or engagement is improving. Are they equipped to see the changes we hope our efforts have produced? Do we have a direct line to the managers of the people we train? How are we helping THEM to support and reinforce the changes our development efforts intended?
We all know development doesn't happen in the "classroom." It happens afterward, on the job, when the learner puts into practice whatever they have learned. Or doesn't. If a person does not change any behavior as a result of a learning event or information bit, did any development happen?
I believe the successful companies of the future will place more responsibility for talent development in the hands of their managers and reduce the "over-the-wall" conventions of the past (i.e., when it comes to learning and development for my employees I throw that over the wall to a proxy, my HR or training department).
Regardless of industry or org structure, there's one thing universal to every business: everyone has a manager. And what universally defines that role is its responsibility for employee productivity and engagement. If productivity and engagement are static or dropping, business performance suffers. How are we helping managers be our partners in stewarding the company's investment in developing its workforce?