Thomas: "I am very proud to be part of this special group of young learning & development colleagues all over the world. A group of aspiring professionals who show deep enthusiasm for learning and the integral drive to become leaders. I came away with a lot of inspiring ideas and am excited to use these in my work and with our clients."

The future of learning is sharing

For the team in the Thirty Under 30, one thing was clear. The future of learning is about sharing. Everyone in this year’s cohort wanted to give back to the community; to share their passion and help others begin, continue, and grow their careers in learning and development. Thomas experienced this as well: "I participated in every session and could really feel the enthusiasm and connection between all of us to learn from each other and to inspire. Even though it was all virtual, I’ve learned a lot! The ambitious people I met -all in my age group- are a valuable network to me that I'm going to use often."


Implementing learning in the flow of work is something Thomas does every day for different companies. Working in the field since 2014, he has trained high-school students and teachers. As an instructional designer, he designed, developed, and implemented several company-specific learning solutions. “My participation in the Thirty Under 30 Program for me also was a moment to reflect. On myself, my work, and my ambitions. What do I stand for? What do I want to learn myself? And how do I want to put that into practice? My three takeaway highlights:

  • The way the event speakers stressed the importance of personal development. Several learning leaders gave us insights into their personal development during extra sessions we had with them. How do they manage their own development? How do they work effectively without too much stress? What are their tips and practices, e.g., for managing a team of leaders? I like to see how I can reflect their topics into my own development goals. I'm inspired to take more time to work on this daily.
  • Learning analytics and technological developments. How far have we developed with analyzing data? What can be achieved in the here and now? And what technologies are on the learning analysis market so far? There is so much to learn on this topic! Interesting to see what the possibilities are and what the predictions for the future are. Even though we talk a lot about the importance of learning analytics, Ben Betts, Chief Product Officer at Learning Pool, found out that the average company can only describe and sometimes analyze their learning data. The next steps in his sequence were ‘Describing’ and ‘Prescribing’, which not many organizations have experience with yet. In the model he used, the stage of Analyze comes after Describe and before Predict and Prescribe.
  • The way the learning function in a company can participate on a strategic level. I learned that an L&D department needs to contribute to the organization's objectives and goals and act from this same perspective. With the 5 Moments of Need™ methodology, for example, we ask for those objectives to measure the results. But that’s not always done in every organization.”

“I am very much looking forward to next year in Orlando and to meet everybody in person!”

Want to know more about Thomas van Kerkhof? See his LinkedIn profile or send him an email at: