Do You Have the Right L&D Roles to Meet Future Needs?

By September 17, 2023September 18th, 2023LTEN Focus On Training

LTEN Learning Executive Series


Guest Editor – Kristy Callahan

Learning leaders must prepare for current and future needs

Don’t all learning & development (L&D) teams look the same? If the role of the L&D team is to onboard and upskill the commercial teams, how different can they be?

Teams have product or specialty trainers, sales skills, instructional designers if you are lucky, ideally some field trainers, someone to manage the immense learning technology and sales tools, and often some leadership development sprinkled in as well.

In reality, our teams can look quite different.

I’ve had the pleasure of working on training teams at five healthcare companies, from start-ups to multibillion-dollar enterprises. Each one looks different and serves a distinct role based on the priority and perception of L&D.

The question as a leader of L&D that you likely are tasked with is how we serve our vast stakeholder needs and stay abreast of the future.


To figure out how L&D will need to adapt, we must first consider what the seller of the future will look like. According to Gartner, “80% of employees are unprepared for both their current and future roles.”

With that future seller in mind, what gaps are there and what resources do we need to upskill them?

Over the last few years, certain skills have emerged, such as account or enterprise management, omnichannel execution and digital transformations. For many, this has resulted in an evolution of the training teams that have been created to adapt to these business needs.

And yet, the external environment continues to evolve, forcing us, as learning leaders, to reevaluate whether we have the right roles in place. We have more and more companies moving from traditional learning management systems (LMS) to learning experience platforms (LXP) or even learning management experience platforms (LMXP), with the objective to make it easier for the learner to access content that is relevant and impactful.

These systems not only make access to internal content easier, but they also provide access to external content that may be applicable for various roles. So, now, in addition to creating content, we need roles that can curate both internal and external content to build a library that supports various roles and curricula.

Content curation is a full-time job because external content is continually evolving and we need to stay on top of it, or we risk content that loses relevance and applicability.

Enter AI

Now we start to hear more and more about artificial intelligence (AI), such as ChatGPT. How does this affect how our instructional designers build content? Technology is advancing so rapidly that what used to take designers weeks to perfect can be ready in minutes.

Clearly the role of the instructional designer will evolve to refining critical thinking and factchecking versus creation. What about the digital proficiency on the L&D team? Knowledge of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)?

Ensure the learner is placed at the center and consider how they are consuming this education. How we create content and how our learners consume content is changing and these are all considerations when hiring for training roles or for creating new roles themselves.

Evolve & Connect

As leaders of development, it’s important that we have our heads up and are looking forward, assessing how and what our learners consume. Ideally, we’re able to adapt rapidly and develop individually to scale.

This means constantly evolving the roles we need and staying connected to others in L&D. Doing so ensures we stay ready and prepared to react to emergent business demands to serve our stakeholders and staying ahead of the competition.

Kristy Callahan is a learning leader executive, USCAN, for GE Healthcare, and a member of the LTEN Board of Directors. Email her at


About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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