Devolved responsibility for learning: a modern approach?

Who is responsible for your learning in an organisation? I ask the question as we increasingly see the devolution of authority and responsibility, from large, long term, structured programmes through to self serve, performance supporting, ‘just in time’ interventions. It’s not that the organisation has absolved itself of all responsibility, but it’s certainly shifted a balance: we tend to have higher ownership of our own destinies, which brings to the forefront the importance of the facilitating role of the manager.

If the push is no longer so strong from the top and we place greater autonomy in the hands of the individual, almost inevitably the manager ends up taking a more immediate role. But is it a role that they are prepared for?

Managers as coaches, as mentors, as both your first line of support and the person who should offer challenge. It’s a tough job to do all of these, especially when you have your day job to do as well.

Are we paying enough attention to the development of these core skills in managers, are are they ending up in this position by default? Should we instead be looking at the development of a coaching layer in the organisation (who may or may not be the managers) to provide this devolved support?

I think it’s easy for us to overlook the importance and function of the facilitating role, especially as responsibility devolves. It’s worth casting an eye in this direction.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Authority, Learning, Management, Performance, Responsibility, Supervision, Support and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Devolved responsibility for learning: a modern approach?

  1. Hi Justin,

    Thanks for this – it’s a very interesting question you are raising.

    I wouldn’t call it “devolution” as such (although it is a very good word for it), I would call it “re-assuming personal accountability”.
    After years of having organisations “rule” employee working life with an iron fist, the age in which information is fast and free has brought two things: 1. the control an organisation has over the information their employees are exposed to is constantly shrinking; 2. organisations have since learnt that letting employees explore and learn on their own makes them more creative and more innovative.
    I think this is an anticipated “information highway” result.

    And I completely agree with you – in order for organisations to maximise this revolution of devolution, line managers need to be equipped with the tools to be coaches and facilitators of learning, development and growth.

  2. Pingback: Who creates the vista? | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

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