It’s A New Year. Time to Rethink Your Learning Strategies

The world of learning, driven by technology, has changed a lot in past year.

New technologies are flooding learning conferences. The new buzzwords are micro-learning, content curation tools, learning record stores (LRS), xAPI, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality.

This new technology hype raises the eye-brows of learning officers and capital investors. New start-ups are hatching by the dozens. Look at their sleek presentations, colorful brochures and impressive stories. They all promise to deliver a training ROI golden egg. Without killing the training department goose.

Do things actually work better or are changes mostly icing on the old training cake?

Is today’s learning more effective than it was 5 years ago?

Do we better prepare our workforce to face today’s and tomorrow’s challenges? New learning platforms bring novelties to our learners. More videos, less page turners, content delivered in digestible chunks and, for some, improved knowledge retention.

After all this hype, how well do they deliver on the promise of better business outcomes? How do we ensure that our 2018 learning investments deliver measurable results to the learners, learning leaders,, departments and  the business. This is where the ice gets thinner…

The most effective change lies at the front end of the learning process.

Business results are there when employees perform the right activities in the right way (behavior) to produce the desired work output (accomplishment): look up the “The Performance Thinking Network” from Carl Binder to find out more about the performance chain model.

Therein lies the question: how do we make sure that learning gets to the heart of the performance chain? Consider the next two catalysts for change as you define your 2018 learning strategies:

1. Learning analytics. This is not only about analyzing learning data. There are three main types of data relevant to people performance: learning data, Human Resource (HR) data and actual performance data. Learning Analytics combines these three data sets to uncover insights and reveal hidden value. But be careful, analyzing data for the purpose of learning is not about big data.

More than just generating reports, learning analytics is about understanding first what works and what does not. The evidence: 85% of top-performing organization (so-called vanguard-organizations in the graphic below) use Learning analytics to drive their learning strategy with measurable results:

Read: “Unleashing the Power of Performance Analytics”

2. Performance consulting
: successful learning departments do not define effective learning strategies in isolation. The key word here is “collaboration”. In today’s world, learning managers are Performance Consultants. They are responsible for implementing non-traditional approach to strategic learning roadmap development.

One example: during Visionary Team Planning (VTP) workshops, a cross-functional team with representatives from Learning, HR, Contracts, Finance and Operations reviews the Learning Analytics studies, analyzes root-causes for low and high performance, explores innovative approaches and defines relevant learning and performance support interventions.

The outcome?

Not a fuzzy resolution to change the world of learning with miraculous learning gizmos, but a 2018 team planning roadmap comprised of sound strategies and processes:

  • Data-driven learning strategies aligned with business priorities.
  • Key result areas with clear tactics, assigned champions, success metrics, budget forecast, key milestones, potential roadblocks and an integrated learning technology roadmap.


Learn more about our Learning Analytics approach: