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Leadership development dilemma 4: Human-facilitated or Tech-enabled learning?

Tim Janisch by Tim Janisch

Leadership development dilemma #4: Human-facilitated or Tech-enabled learning?

Which stimulus is going to help your leaders develop?


Via five short articles, we’ll explore the choices at hand, when thinking about deploying leadership development support in the year ahead. This next dilemma relates to what source of learning you might deploy in the goal of developing your leaders.


Reading time:​ 1 minute


There’s a big choice available to us in how we provide the stimulus for learning and development. On the one hand, humans have evolved to thrive and respond in groups of other humans, whilst on the other hand, technology continues to be designed that allows us to learn asynchronously and remotely from others. Let’s look at these both.

Human-facilitated learning: People have evolved on the basis of living and working in the presence of others, and we tend to show up well (commitment, attention, contribution) when others are around to notice us. Working and learning in groups provides the social support that gives people confidence to open up, reflect, ask for help and ideas, and contribute to others’ thinking. A human facilitator can notice what’s happening in the moment, and adapt the style, tone, pace, and agenda as needed. A human-facilitated approach might involve:

  • Group workshops – immersive experiences that fire emotions will create new memories and aids longer term recall.
  • Virtual meetings – which allow groups to ‘meet’ even when they are not co-located (we’ve listed these meetings in the human-facilitated group because the source for learning still comes from humans). Platforms like zoom and Teams are constantly developing new tools and features to allow interaction and increase engagement.
  • 1-1 Coaching – the ultimate personalisation of facilitated learning.
  • Action Learning groups – smaller groups can be facilitated through some form of framework to tackle individual or shared problems.

Tech-enabled learning: The technology in our pockets and through our laptops allows us to access everything, anywhere, all of the time. Learning Management Systems give us access to curated content, apps and bots nudge us and help us form new habits, and we can access learning at a time that suits us. A ‘tech-enabled’ approach might involve:

  • Online content – articles to read, videos and talks to watch, curated playlists on an LMS. This content is available whenever it suits us to take time for learning, and we can consume it as many times as we need.
  • Coaching bots – tools that use language models to ask us questions and respond to our answers in a way that gets us thinking.
  • App-based learning and habit activation – tools that offer us reflective tasks, ask us to try new behavioural actions, and to share our reflections and learnings.

If you had to say which of these was your bigger focus in the year ahead, which would it be?

Do please share our thoughts and comments on our LinkedIn poll, here.

As always, we’re here to help. And if this is a choice you’re working through, we’d love to chat.


Tim Janisch

Director of Leadership and Team Development




Explore more leadership development dilemmas:

  • Leadership development dilemma #1: Individuality or consistency? – Read here
  • Leadership development dilemma #2: Broad reach or deeper impact? – Read here
  • Leadership development dilemma #3: Push content or remove barriers? – Read here
  • Leadership development dilemma #5: Off-the-shelf or custom design? – Read here

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