responsibility for learning

Organisations are responsible for setting out learning aims, as well as providing the time and resources needed to allow individuals’ learning to happen. The responsibility for learning rests either with HR or learning and development (L&D). Either way, line managers play a key role and are likely to continue taking greater responsibility, particularly in evaluation (‘has it worked?’) and development (‘what can we do better?’).

Line managers have long initiated a high percentage of training. Successful L&D is often the result of a joint initiative between the executive team, HR, line managers and L&D experts. Many organisations now anticipate greater responsibilities to be devolved to line managers, with stronger links between team-working, on-the-job learning, coaching and guidance, and levels of employee satisfaction, commitment and motivation.


Line managers are thus the gatekeepers to individual learning and development, and need support in carrying out their learning and development role. Where there is recognition and reward for these responsibilities, it is more likely they will be effective in coaching and learning activities. Their involvement is most effective when responsibility for learning and development is integrated into leadership expectations and line managers’ learning and development activities are not compromised by conflicting work demands.


The majority of Australian senior leaders (58%) are allowed an annual learning budget of over $1,000 AUD for their own learning and development, compared to annual budgets of between $100 AUD and $500 AUD per person for two-thirds of all supervisors, according to the ‘Brandon Hall Group Training Benchmarking Study 2017’.


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