Developing Learning Strategies: Notes from the L&D Frontlines

Developing Learning Strategies

Not only was last week's CLO Breakfast Club in Boston a great event with great discussions among both the panelists and audience members, but it enabled everyone in the room to walk away with some important takeaways for how to define, develop, and deploy successful  learning strategies. Some of the key tips:

Create Learning Strategies with Broad Reach

Learning strategies cannot and should not be created in a vacuum. More likely than not, learning already exists within the organization (departmental training, tuition reimbursement, etc.). A successful strategy incorporates the desired learning outcomes of all these different initiatives.

Enlist Learning Strategy Champions Outside L&D

The L&D viewpoint is essential. But there's great value in also having stakeholders outside of L&D who drive learning engagement. For example, we often speak with our larger healthcare clients about actively engaging the chief nursing officers in the tuition assistance process. Who better to drive learning initiatives than those responsible for the care provided by the largest segment of the hospital workforce?

Don't Try to Make Your Strategies One-Size-Fits-All

Learning is often pushed enterprise-wide in a singular manner without taking into account individual needs such as an employee's past experience, schedule, and/or specific job. Fundamentals are important. But when you get to specific content, employees should feel they're receiving relevant material in a way that best meets their learning style and applies to what they do, regardless of where they sit in the organization.

Create a Thoughtful Evaluation Process

Evaluation should be part of the process, but needs to be thoughtful and intentional. It's certainly critical to evaluate and communicate what's important and relevant with stakeholders -- that way they can help initiate necessary changes to the overall strategy -- but a lengthy evaluation process just for the sake of having one doesn't do anyone any good. You don't want to spend your time trying to understand the answers to unimportant questions.

Don't Be Afraid to Pilot a Program

It's much easier to get buy in from leadership (and obtain necessary resources) if the opening investment and time commitment is small. If learning can be designed to be deployed and measured on a small scale and then replicated, you can build yourself a very solid business case for rolling out enterprise wide.

There was much more shared, discussed, and debated over the 2 1/2 hour event. And while every organization in the room was different -- with different cultures, resources, personalities, and goals -- what tied them all together was the common understanding of the importance of great learning strategies. Because the fact is, at the end of the day, such strategies are the key to smarter workforces that can ultimately drive stronger business results.

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

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