Is Traditional L&D Still Relevant?

mikeGuest post by Mike Culligan, LINGOs’ Director of Last Mile Learning

Last month we published a survey, based on Jane Hart’s recent blog post, that asked readers to rate 10 different ways they learn at work. We did not receive 3,500 responses from 55 countries (as Jane did), however, 69 individuals from our sector responded to our survey. Their responses reveal a number of interesting trends about the way development/relief organizations learn, identify the similarities/differences between “our learners” and learners in other sectors, and raise the challenging question, “Is Traditional L&D Still Relevant?”

First, there is one very strong area of alignment between development/relief learners and learners in other sectors. Both surveys’ results identified knowledge sharing within teams as the most important source of sharing in the organization. Over 90% of LINGOs respondents identified team knowledge sharing as either “Essential” or “Very Important.” In Jane Hart’s survey, this category also took the top prize, with 87% of respondents identifying it as Essential or Very Important.

Interestingly, while respondents to both surveys agreed on the importance of knowledge sharing, they disagreed significantly on other points.

In Jane Hart’s survey, the second most useful source of learning was identified as web searches, while company training/e-learning was the lowest-rated way to learn at work. Respondents to LINGOs’ survey did not agree! LINGOs respondents identified general conversations and meetings within their teams as the second most important source of learning (which Jane Hart’s blog respondents put in third place.) However, what is probably the most interesting contrast between the two surveys is that LINGOs respondents identified Training/eLearning Provided by Your Company (73%) as the third most important source of workplace learning, just behind general conversations and meetings (77%)! In contrast, only 37% of Jane Hart’s respondents identified Training/eLearning as Essential or Very Important.

What does this mean? While it is clear that LINGOs survey data needs improvement, beginning with more respondents from more locations, representing a wider variety of backgrounds, there are several very interesting takeaways. First, Social Learning is king! Both surveys identified knowledge sharing and conversations in teams as being the most important avenues of learning. Secondly, it appears that eLearning and Trainings continue to be very important in our sector (while not nearly as much in other sectors). Why this discrepancy in results?  It could be because our offices are so remote that eLearning a pragmatic/practical approach to reach staff on limited budgets. It could be that the social components of our training events allow for the hallway/watercooler conversations that are critical to social learning in our agencies. The survey does not ask why, but it clear that respondents still value eLearning and Training.

Below you will see a summary of the responses from the two surveys. They are definitely thought provoking. LINGOs will also be discussing the results of these surveys at the LINGOs Global Learning Forum (Little Rock, Arkansas; October 14-15, 2015.) There, we will review the challenges these responses pose to our agency learning strategy, and explore approaches and products that will allow LINGOs members to better serve the next generation of learners in the workplace.

LINGOs’ survey results

Mike's survey data

Jane Hart’s survey results, available at

Jane Hart survey

eLearning Community Contributes to Global Good



Final stages of the second annual eLearning Global Giveback Competition  are underway. The courses that eLearning designers and developers created for LINGOs member agencies are now with a panel of judges, finalists will be announced shortly and winners will be announced on Thursday March 24 at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference and Expo  in Orlando, Florida.

The eLearning Guild ( and LINGOs ( created the eLearning Global Giveback Competition to provide the e-Learning community with an opportunity to help change the world.  International non-profits that do great work in relief, development, conservation and social justice use eLearning to build the capacity of their global staff on the frontlines in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the former Soviet Union.

Instructional designers, e-Learning Developers and other e-Learning experts come together in the Global Giveback to make a real difference in the world by volunteering their expertise in developing state-of-the-art e-Learning to help build the capacity of LINGOs member organizations such as ACCION, ACDI-VOCA, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International, PSI, Save the Children, The Nature Conservancy, and World Vision.

Win or not, participating in the eLearning Global Giveback is a great experience. For LINGOs member agencies, the eLearning community has contributed a huge win and windfall by developing customized, high-quality learning resources for their staff in the far reaches of the world. Staff in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America rarely have the opportunity to access state-of-the-art learning resources, given the costs of time and travel to regional and international training courses. The contribution made by volunteers means that these agencies can both invest in their staff’s development and use the precious financial resources contributed by generous donors to achieve their organizational missions, in responding to crises, such as last year’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, building democratic institutions, fighting corruption, protecting natural resources, and promoting health and human rights around the globe.

For the volunteers, the experience offers an opportunity to give back in meaningful ways, to learn about a new field, try out a new authoring tool, and build a portfolio. “The experience was just awesome,” said Alfredo Leone of Quicklessons who developed a course for LINGOs member ACDI-VOCA. “It’s a great initiative, a great way to get involved and create real value for the community,” he said of the Global Giveback initiative. “John Leary, at ACDI-VOCA picked a topic that meets an underlying need, and we were glad to be able to collaborate.”

To our volunteers, sponsors and partners, the eLearning Guild, LINGOs, and LINGOs member agencies say thank you! And … to help us do a better job, have a request:

If you posted a course for development, if you offered to develop a course, if you did develop a course, if you sponsored the competition by making your learning resources available to volunteers and LINGOs agencies, please take a few minutes and respond to our survey .

We want to learn from the experience and make it even better next time.