Designing learning strategy plans that work
Posted on 28th November, 2017 by Ben Miller
A productive and enjoyable learning strategy workshop in London gave members of LEO Learning’s team the chance to collaborate with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), who help to co-ordinate life-saving work in more than 70 countries around the world.
The half-day LEO Learning-led session on learning strategy plans was a great opportunity to share ideas with some of the committee’s organisers. They are on a mission to comprehensively support and future-proof their ambitions through highly effective and ambitious learning strategy plans, and they asked LEO Learning for guidance as part of a strong existing relationship we have with them.
Working for a great cause creates a responsibility to ensure that all monies raised are spent wisely, and the proud legacy of the JDC, which was established in New York in 1914, owes much to the knowledge the organisation has collected and passed on.
In L&D terms, the aim for the JDC now is to continue to invest in and devise an agile learning strategy that will give stakeholders at all levels the know-how to be able to sustain knowledge sharing and accumulation. We love working with this small team to help them on their way to achieving this.
Creating lasting learning strategy plans
Part of designing learning strategy plans that work, as attendees from both JDC and LEO Learning agreed at several points during the workshop, is about catering to both: “vertical” professionals – applying common principles of learning to people with different job titles and disparate areas of responsibility in dispersed locations and “horizontal” staff, who tend to work in parallel as a team, with similar inputs and less clearly defined job responsibilities
As well as looking at some examples of the end-to-end learning programmes LEO Learning has created to help organisations transform their learning, the group reflected that decisions and initiatives tend to come from the top of an organisation and filter down quite slowly.
This can result in learners from the same profession feeling that they are somewhat disconnected from the process. In a global organisation, people need to be able to see what their counterparts in other parts of the company and world are doing.
Another key theme was the idea of showing people, alongside other professionals in their “ecosystem”, how to apply highly practical knowledge.
Rather than creating predominantly theoretical learning, JDC wants to involve audiences and partners in a learning process which is needs-and outcome-oriented, according to the precise requirements of a situation and the beliefs and culture of the location where it is taking place.
LEO Consultant Katherine Chapman leading a topic discussion
Measuring the business impact of learning strategy plans
One of the challenges in taking their first steps into measurement, the team acknowledged, is in working out what kind of impact they want to measure and in what ways.
L&D departments are increasingly looking to effectively measure the business impact of learning, and JDC has a rich history of stories and experience worth delving into – from guiding community leaders to responding when crises happen.
Being able to isolate outcomes that have happened as the result of learning is one of the results of effective measurement, and one of the areas that LEO Learning’s experts feel passionate about. In revisiting how this might be achieved, the strategy session looked at how:
- Big data and analytics are becoming far more important across business
- Businesses are demanding more data around investment decisions
- Technology, such as xAPI analytics, is maturing
- We now have the ability to analyse large data sets to uncover and then visually illustrate the trends
As an organisation with more than a century of history, the JDC has plenty of tacit knowledge about how it can help people. Its team now wants to expressly communicate a learning strategy which is more exact and focused than ever before.
With LEO Learning’s help, the JDC team began to think about how to measure, what data is available to them and how they might be able to continuously improve that data, together with what they should do more of and the different approaches they could adopt.
Everyone developed their own original suggestions about fresh learning ideas that could be implemented, creating an air of optimism and purpose as the session concluded. LEO Learning’s team look forward to helping JDC finesse a learning strategy which adds value to its global goals.