Once you have created the pieces of your culture of learning, where will they live and how will they live together? Explore the importance of developing a learning strategy that considers many types of learning.
- As you intentionally build a positive culture of learning, one of your goals should be creating a cohesive landscape in which all types and forms of learning can live. If you don't, learning can quickly get dispersed and diluted rather than serving the strategic goals of the organization. Now, I'm not talking about a learning management system or catalog of offerings although those will certainly play a role, but rather a learning strategy that has a place for all kinds of learning to be recognized and organized. Let me walk you through how to do that.
First, you want to assess your current learning landscape. This is best done with a group of people so that you can get as much input as possible. You're trying to create the master list of where and how learning happens in your organization. Not just the ones the LnD team creates or pays for, but all kinds of learning that happen across the organization and outside of it. I've created an exercise file to get you started. I recommend that you do two rounds of assessment. The first allows you to matrix different forms or formats of learning into the categories of information, instruction and inspiration.
Within instruction, you'll want to call out which have the elements of communication, demonstration and that very important experimentation. Ultimately, you'll want to do this as a spreadsheet so that you can sort the data different ways as well as edit and add as needed. The second way is to look at it from the learner's perspective and how they'll likely identify and pursue their learning. Some organizations have done it by job title and role level. Others have used organizations values or strategic goals.
One that works well is to map skills or competencies. Learners often search by skill or topic and you have the additional ability to code things by level from beginner to expert or master. Once you have a thorough understanding of the learning opportunities, design a learning landscape that has place for everything. This will be a visible learning interface that acts as a roadmap where your employees can navigate all the resources available. Your goal here is two-fold.
One, you want to make it easy for your learners to find meaningful learning opportunities. And two, you want them to view those opportunities as part of the employee experience created by your organization. For example, if an employee is supported in attending an industry conference, do you want them thinking wow that conference was really great or wow my company helped me find and attend that conference. What a great place to work. This platform is another example, there are thousands of great courses on it.
You want your people to see it as part of your offerings and think I'm so lucky that my organization provides such a great service. But the only way they will make that connection is if they see these things as part of your learning landscape. This is essentially about branding and marketing your learning strategy so that it is continually visible to all members of your community and it becomes their go to place for learning. Most traditional learning management systems are not flexible enough to accurately reflect all the learning options that exist and it's limited in the kind of content it can host.
So many organizations create their own learning site or portal as the gateway to various options and experiences. This allows you to design a learning roadmap where all types of learning have a place and that's intuitive to your learners. And you can also frame it or brand it in a way that honors the vision mission and values of your organization. There's some products that operate more as a platform that host all kinds of learning and diverse content creating intuitive pathways that allow learners to track and measure their own progress and improvement.
Check out current options like Degreed and Pathgather but remember that the learning industry is constantly evolving so you'll want to stay on top of new developments and trends. I find elearningindustry.com to be a great source of information. Finally, in your new learning landscape, you'll inevitably need to differentiate those learning experiences that are officially vetted, approved or aligned with your organization from all the other kinds. This will be a service to your learners because when they're choosing among the overwhelming number of options it'll help them to know which you've curated or given a stamp of approval.
Consider how you might use a symbol, color or some other indicator to distinguish them. Having a cohesive learning landscape will directly support creating a positive culture of learning and more importantly help your learners navigate the many wonderful opportunities that await them.
- Establishing a growth mindset
- Integrating learning into your organization
- Empowering through knowledge sharing
- Overcoming obstacles
- Addressing opportunities
- Measuring success