In this weeks L&D QuestionTime we hear from ex Director of Talent, Learning & Organisation Development for The Walt Disney Company and now founder of WeCommend David James.


In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?

I think there is still plenty of anxiety around measuring the impact of any investment in L&D – whether that be monetary investment or time. So many of us work in lean teams with relatively small budgets and this could be due to our inability to present our case for development and effectively demonstrating the returns.


Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

I’ve always been most usefully informed by the people doing it: my peers in other companies and expert providers. I do read many books, articles and blogs but it’s in the successful application of L&D that I become most fascinated and inspired. There are some brilliant people doing extraordinary things in our profession and it’s a pleasure to know some of them.


What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?

I’m a huge fan of technology but I think we can get carried down with technology for technology’s sake. Most e-learning and LMS’s I’ve ever seen are testament to this. The most exciting innovation, for me, is the sophistication of e-learning authoring tools. I was blown away when I first met the guys from because they’ve got the tool that will empower and inspire entire organisations to develop first-class learning.


What “game changers” would you like to see and why?

I’m a big fan of gamification. In my lifetime, I’ve invested (yes invested) hours mastering ‘games’ for personal satisfaction. When businesses get this right, this could change the game of business itself well beyond L&D.


What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?

I’d like to think that by 2020 organisations will be truly concerned about the ‘whole person’ and not just the employee. So with this concern, I’d like to think that L&D would be helping people develop to be better versions of themselves that impact all parts of their life. I’ve never been a believer of compartmentalising the ‘self’. When businesses stop thinking of people as resources and more as ‘people’, the potential could be limitless.


What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

I was 21 in 1994, so I’d probably bring a copy of ‘7 Habits’ with me from the future and tell me that people make a living out of training this stuff. I wasn’t inspired to get into L&D (or training, as it was) until 1998, and I think this would be the way to convince me to get onto it sooner.


Follow David on twitter @DavidInLearning