TrainingZone reports that Martyn Sloman is stepping down from his position with UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. CIPD has been and continues to be a rich source of research and thinking about improving human performance in organizations, in large part due to the work of Sloman. With help from Victoria Winkler, he wrote a final paper about the field, pulling together many years of CIPD research studies. Sloman’s conclusion is:

Training should no longer be seen as a discrete set of activities around a course or similar event. The activities required to bring about more effective learning must involve the wider HR and management community; they do not just lie in the domain of the trainer. The job is no longer centered on what happens in the training room – though off-the-job classroom training still has an important role to play. Instead the learning, training and development professional must address and overcome a series of interrelated organisational challenges and thus create a more effective learning culture.

It is this “learning culture” for which organizations should be striving. Sloman is saying that training is only one element of this culture. Training courses and events alone have never been particularly effective. Over the past 50 years, estimates have ranged from only 10% to 50% of learners continuing to apply new knowledge and skills to their jobs after a very short period of time, even while the quality of the content and delivery of training events have improved markedly. Clearly, organizational factors outside of training events are barriers to application of learning. This is not tolerable, especially in this time of economic contraction when all resources must be used efficiently and effectively. We need to focus on developing a learning culture, not only delivering great training events.