Learning Perspectives

Volume 18: Adding Spice to Your Learning Recipes for Younger Generations

Highly engaged, trained employees surrounded by a purposeful learning and development team are necessary to achieve desired business results. Yet in most organizations, it’s often difficult for C-suite members to see the value they expected from their learning programs—leading to the potential of budget cuts, a risk no organization wishes to face.

Uncertainty in the local economy, a move toward automation, or global influences such as ever-changing trade agreements between neighboring countries or political unrest in a region, impact programs in all types of organizations causing them to become frozen, reduced, or eliminated. The solution to prevent this has never been more evident than now: learning programs must get connected to hard business results if funding is to be protected.

Yet, like most learning and development professionals, there are some daunting roadblocks to overcome.

  • Over 50 percent of learning and development is wasted.
  • What senior executives want from learning and development is rarely measured. One study found that 96 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs want to see the business connection, yet only 8 percent see it. And 74 percent want to see ROI, yet only 4 percent see it.1
  • Very few learning and development professionals have data to show top executives that their programs make a difference.
  • Most executives perceive learning and development to be a cost, rather than an investment. Thus, in times of economic anxiety, it’s the first budget to be cut—when, really, it should be increased.
  • Hard skills are widely perceived as being far more valuable than soft skills—even though data shows the payoff of soft skills is higher.

How do we correct these persistent dilemmas? The solution is by using design thinking.

What is Design Thinking?

Rooted in innovation, design thinking suggests that goals should be set for the desired outcome and the entire team should be mobilized to design the product, service, or process to achieve the goals. More specifically, design thinking involves these elements:

  • Method to take on design challenges by applying empathy
  • Approach to collective problem solving
  • Framework to balance needs and feasibility
  • Process to solve complex or wicked problems
  • Aptitude for curiosity and inquiry
  • Problem-solving approach to handle problems on a systems level
  • Culture that fosters exploration and experimentation2

Relating this process to learning and development means that all stakeholders should work in a collaborative way to design for the desired results from learning. The results desired could be one or all of these levels of outcomes: Reaction, Learning, Application, Impact, and possibly ROI. These outcomes represent a logical flow of data from a classic logic model. In today’s economic climate, the desired level of results is impact, expressed as improvements in output, quality, time, and costs.

Volume 19: Four Collaborative Tasks That Can Boost Team Learning

Particularly in the digital age, skills in the business world cannot be allowed to stagnate. People who fall behind the times rapidly see their usefulness ebb away, turning themselves into burdens on their employers and colleagues alike. But the resources aren’t always there for individual training — and even when they are, how can supervisors be sure they’re being used correctly?

This is why any individual training must be supplemented with team training. Team members can support one another throughout the training, and supervisors can communicate a concept very articulately just once instead of needing to explain it to each staff member separately. Team training is also great for overall team morale and productivity (after all, a close-knit team is only as strong as its weakest link). But how can supervisors encourage their teams to learn as a group?

Volume 16: Informal Learning

Learning & development practitioners (LDPs) are being asked to meet enormous learning demands: leadership development is a perennial need, compliance training has exploded, onboarding is under the microscope, change management often falls to L&D, and millennial employees are demanding career path development.

In addition, the continually changing workplace requires learning support for product rollouts, technology changes – it’s a daunting list. Most L&D teams are small: The average global LDP is responsible for 1,135 employees according to this recent CIPD and Towards Maturity study.

Volume 17: A Winning Formula

We’re always on the lookout for “organic” ways to connect with each other: to see and be seen - whether in personal relationships or professional ones. Why? Because it feels good, feels right and true. The goals we accomplish are based on our ability and willingness to create an honest two-way channel of receptivity, to understand the subtle messages and the underlying needs of our customers and partners. It’s that human connection that allows the necessary insight to accomplish this and the foundation of our collective ability to co-create success with our clients.

The strategy of forging a unique connection and communication happened unconsciously at first, then developed into my go-to formula: Tune in, Join, be Curious & Match. These simple steps have allowed me to go beyond reaching clients and just fulfilling their needs. My unique approach has enabled me to simply bring myself more fully into the process. I’ll unpack these steps for you then share how they work for me.

Volume 15: Balance and Alignment

There’s a professional risk in remaining bound in a historical silo often found within Learning and Development (L&D) departments. In today’s competitive environment, this practice prevents an organization from using the skills sets and expanding the competencies of its current and future employees. Companies that align their learning efforts with corporate strategies can see a return on that investment with higher revenues and more engaged staff and clients.

Use What You Already Have

Many L&D professionals are starting to turn their attention towards a more customer-oriented mindset, one of serving customers.

Volume 20: Training as a Service

Training as a Service (TaaS) for ERP is a service-level based offering for established enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations, e.g., Infor, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, or other smaller systems. TaaS provides training support services after go-live as a periodic routine to proactively address changing operations and ERP system changes. “At TrainingPros, we understand the importance of leveraging managed services,” said Dave Amborski, TrainingPros Vice President of Enterprise Learning Solutions. “A successful ERP implementation and transition to normal operations is only the beginning of the journey.”