Coming: A New Training and Continuous Learning Boom

As knowledge and its applications expand, today's media machines will make it known to millions of people.

The result for every person is that he/she will be forced to spend more time to keep up with new knowledge and new applications of existing knowledge, lest others beat him or her to its use.

To paraphrase Harvard's Ted Levitt, in short, people will spend less time at their jobs in their offices and labs. But they will spend more time at their jobs away from their offices and labs.

They will do it reading/reviewing more professional materials at home—and by talking to their peers at conferences and via vertical market social media sources.

Just as your children go to school longer, so will you. You will return to seminars, workshops and other devices for continuing your professional advancement.

The need for "keeping up" is no longer confined to highly educated professionals. The machine operator in a job shop faces the same necessity; otherwise new technologies will make her/him totally obsolete.

There is no escape—not for the marketing manager or the chief executive officer—otherwise they will be rendered obsolete by online marketing strategies and tactics, new organizational structures for managing today's workforce or new pronouncements related to developments that could technologically displace today's products and services.

It's a New Day for Internal Training Organizations

Overall, an expanding boom for "keeping up" is certainly ahead. But both the magnitudes and the directions are easy to exaggerate.

An incident is not a trend. The slightest hesitation in GDP precipitates an economic downturn and a drop in business.

Yet the factors fueling the need for continuous learning and training will not disappear.

Peer-to-peer communications could satisfy many of today's needs for staying current.

Besides sharing business solutions via social media networks—seminars, refresher courses at universities, webinars, virtual conferences (a string of webinars), live conferences and the like will continue to become a vital resource of mental energy to today's knowledge worker.

We've heard over and over again that attracting and retaining talent have become two of the central task of management. Knowledge workers have many options and are interested in avoiding obsolescence.

They expect continuous learning and training. It's the job of today's internal training organization to give it to them.

Once this is understood—and the relationship between attracting and holding talent to continuous learning and training is rendered explicit—internal training organizations will play a vital role in corporate wealth creation.