Training to Learning & Performance – It’s evolution baby!

Learning Cuppa from the UK

Hi everyone this is my first post and I’m really pleased to be part of Learning Café. I hope to bring you a view of things that are happening in the UK L&D world. In fact I hope to write about anything that might interest and generate discussion with fellow L&D professionals.  So here goes, I should start by saying I love Twitter and use it a lot, although I’m not quite an addict (honest)!  I find a lot of great information around learning and education, technology, gadgets and I find most news items of interest via this channel. I also connect with a lot of fellow L&D professionals through Twitter which I really enjoy doing as it’s helped me develop and further my own knowledge as well as develop great relationships with some fantastic characters and experts in different fields. If you’re on Twitter, I’m @mikecollins007 – it would be great to connect and share.

So what’s a hot topic in the UK? Well there was a lot of interest from my network surrounding the press release from the Institute of IT Training (IITT) earlier this month. The press release stated that on the 14th September the IITT would complete a planned name change to become the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI). The response from the L&D community within my network was overwhelmingly positive with lots of re-tweets and replies to that effect. The official launch will be at Learning Live on the 14th September. Sadly I’m not attending as I’m on holiday and fitting a bathroom (another new learning experience).

So what’s prompted the change?

Learning and Performance Institute Chief Executive Colin Steed has said of the change   “For IITT members, becoming the Learning and Performance Institute is about being part of a body which is transforming itself to meet the needs of today’s learning professional.”  Colin goes on to say  “The industry is constantly changing, and in the midst of the economic climate, the speed of change has never been greater. As an institute it’s our job to keep one step ahead and bring our members along with us – that’s what we intend to do.”

So what does this mean?

For some time I’ve been reading articles and blogs from industry professionals, like Jane Hart on the role of L&D and it’s ability to demonstrate the impact (or lack of it) they have on organisational performance. In my time in L&D I have been involved in a name change myself from being in a Training & Development team to becoming a Learning & Development team. This was evolution really from a team who’s primary focus was on event based training to a team that focused on supporting learning as a process, of course in both cases the outcome of the training or learning was still some sort of individual development or change in behaviour. This development or change in behaviour would then (ideally) lead to better performance and in individuals being able to do their jobs more effectively. From a business perspective the key word of course is performance, it’s a word that is synonymous with business strategy and objectives and is a word that explicitly means something to the Chief Exec down to the first line managers. Learning and development are of course important words to any business but open to interpretation in terms of what the outcomes are going to be, and subsequently can be much harder to measure and provide hard evidence for.  Learning and Performance however leaves you under no  illusion that the outcome of any learning activity will impact on performance and therefore could be measured in similar ways to traditional performance metrics meaning L&D could ‘prove’ they are adding more value?  So is this the next phase of L&D evolution and does it go much deeper than just performance metrics?

In my opinion this change in name does embody and signify a shift in thinking from a major player within the industry. For the IITT to change their name to the Learning & Performance Institute not only publicly supports this thinking but advertises this shift in thinking to the wider L&D world. A bold move and one that I think demonstrates a clear shift in strategy and focus from the Institute. That said, a change in name could be viewed as a relatively superficial change and the cynics amongst us could even go as far to say this is purely a marketing ploy by the institute to gain new ground with a newer and younger audience. What ever your views I am looking forward and very interested to hear from existing members what this change actually means for them and the benefits it brings.  It might take time for this change to filter through but I expect the institute will outline what this means for its’ members and what they can expect from the LPI at Learning Live on the 14th September, so watch this space (or follow the hashtag #LearningLive on Twitter on 13th/14th September)!

What do you think of the change in name and what this signifies (or doesn’t signify) for its’ members now and in the future? Is this a sign of things to come in other Institutes or Professional Bodies or even something you can see happening within organisations? Could you see your L&D team become the L&P team? Be great to hear your views…


  1. When I was at school in the late 60’s we were constantly being told that computers & associated technology would change our lives! Well the 70’s & 80’s came and went with little computer impact for the ordinary man in the street. 90’s mobile phones change the world of communication wide spread internet use. OO’s well it may be 50 years later but computers & technology have changed the world that I knew. If you can’t live with it and make it work for you….you will be left behind. Therefore anything which enables understanding and access to this world has to be good,e-learning would appear to be the way forward. In respect of business development, whether marketing or training it is the future.

  2. Hi Bob, thanks for the comment and I think you’re right! Although I think the world that most people knew/know has changed, more so in the last 10 years. This change is of course ‘normal’ for a 10 year old who has grown up with the internet, mobile phones, Wii, etc. Like you say the way in which we communicate and interact with one another has changed through technology and this means changes for education and business. I laugh now when I see my 4yr old intuitively pick up my tablet and figure out how to play a game or navigate around without any prompt from me whatsoever. The traditional model of training using the same methods that we have used for the last 20 years do need to adapt and evolve to meet the needs and expectations of present / future workforce. The most significant change I can see is how people access information and learn through resources that didn’t exist 5 years ago. I hope the Learning & Performance Institute start defining what they think this evolution looks like this week and how they are going to support their members in this fast changing world of ours.

  3. I don’t predict many professional bodies changing their names. There is history and hard-earned reputation in a name, even if it isn’t 100% reflective of what the body currently stands for.

    Of course, the most important thing is that the body moves with the times to keep up with the latest thinking and the members’ constantly shifting needs. That’s a cultural issue.

    In saying that, ‘Institute of IT Training’ is obviously out-dated. I take it the body no longer focuses on IT, so a new name that represents its broader scope is a no brainer. I also support the explicit linking of ‘learning’ with ‘performance’, because that’s what it’s all about!

  4. Ryan you hit the nail on the head there in that the ‘Institute of IT Training’ does sound dated and therefore a name change makes sense. Like you say it certainly makes the Institute more accessible / attractive for those not in IT! What I’m really interested to see is what the Institute is going to do differently and how it will accredit new members with a much greater emphasis on demonstrating improved performance through learning.

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