This week we catch up with Paul Duxbury.

Paul has over 15 years of Learning & Development Management experience gained working as a Business Partner developing and implementing Learning and Training Strategy, Managing a core Team of up to 20 people delivering the full training cycle.  Paul also specialises  in managing the design, delivery and evaluation of L&D solutions (from induction programmes to management development programmes) which enable achievement of strategic objectives and organisational development priorities.


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

I am seeing a lot currently around the theme of relevance and I see two key strands to it which are very closely linked.

There have been a variety of reports and articles of late around this issue that should give us all cause for some anxiety or concern. Many of these have highlighted how very significant numbers of business leaders do not perceive what their Learning & Development teams are doing as relevant to their business needs.

That has to be a concern for all of us in the Learning & Development profession and something that we need to face up to, recognise and address. How do we ensure that what we are doing is focused on meeting the needs of the businesses that we work within? We need to be focusing on adding value and delivering/facilitating interventions that are meeting the needs of organisations and individuals.

The second strand is what I sometimes see as a real disconnect between the “thinkers” within Learning & Development and those in organisations involved in delivering on the ground. Sometimes I think we can tend to become a little too wrapped up in being disruptive and lose sight of being constructive and practical. Disruptive thinking can move us forward and open us to new ideas but it needs to be rooted in what can be applied by those on the ground. All too often I have a perception that the thinking that is being written about is catering for a very different audience than those who are involved in trying to be relevant within their organisations and that cannot be healthy can it?


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

As I have been thinking a lot about Leadership Development of late, I have recently been re-reading Steve Radcliffe’s Leadership, Plain and Simple which speaks to my belief that things need to be kept simple if they are to be effective. It’s a book which I would highly recommend to my fellow L&D professionals and to leaders within businesses/organisations. I have also been reading Colin Steed’s Facilitating Live Online Learning and thinking about the various ways we can make use of the opportunities the medium offers. Again a book that is well worth reading.

I consider myself very fortunate to have some amazing connections on LinkedIn and Twitter and am always learning, being challenged and made to think by what they post and share. To name just a few that I would recommend connecting with are Perry Timms, Jonathan Kettleborough, Gemma Reucroft, Rachel Burnham and of course David D’Souza.


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

 I think there is much more to come in terms of emerging opportunities to make learning more accessible to more people. When I think back to my days at Academee, when we were breaking new ground, and see how much online learning has developed I am really encouraged. Although I think we still need to make that breakthrough and show how it can be relevant, useful and add value. I also hope that we will see more done to encourage people to take advantage of the learning opportunities through Twitter and other social media platforms. As L&D professionals we need to show how we are learning and show others how they can embrace and get added value from these “always on” learning opportunities.


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

I touched on it with my answer to the previous question when I mentioned social media platforms. I believe those offer real opportunities both in the public arena and within organisations to provide learning opportunities when and where people need them. If we, as Learning and Development Professionals can create a real passion for learning within organisations and individuals by making opportunities available to individuals, then we will have started to win the battle for relevance we desperately need to win.

I would like to see opportunities for relevant learning being provided at every level. In particular I would like to see the value of the learning that occurs in apprenticeships being recognised, championed and celebrated.


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

My hope is that we will have demonstrated that we are relevant, that we add value by creating opportunities for learning that meet the needs of individuals and organisations when that need arises. The focus will be on the learning content rather than the tools for learning and that learning will be second nature.


What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

Take the opportunities that occur even if they seem to take you down a different road to the one you had envisaged.


You can connect with Paul  On Twitter @PaulDuxbury or why not check out His L&D Blog L&D Insights

Next week we hear the opinions of Kandy Woodfield – Director of Learning at NatCen Social Research