Designing a successful learning vision

Learning strategies can be made quickly, but sometimes design falls by the wayside.

‘Most e-learning fails to live up to its promise’, states the Serious E-learning Manifesto, a document supported by groups such as the Association for Talent Development and the E-learning Guild. ‘We further believe that current trends evoke a future of only negligible improvement in e-learning design — unless something radical is done to bend the curve.’

The Chief Learning Officer (CLO) must devise an effective learning vision, based on the above-outlined business goal. It should be drilled down to every employee, based on learning needs and drivers. More importantly, it must be relevant to the functional and organizational level. On the journey for improving skills and knowledge, organizations often take a one-sided approach to developing learning programs. However, there must be a balance between what employees need and what the business needs to compete in the long-term.

The Chief Learning Officer Forum, Fall, taking place on October 24th- 26th in Boston, will explore the importance of design and key strategies CLO’s need to drive organizations forward in 2017 and beyond.
Design thinking is a relatively new concept for innovation. It empowers a team to tackle and solve complex problems using a systematic process with cost containment as a focus.

A design thinking approach represents a change in how learning leaders initiate, develop and implement talent development. It places the focus on value creation, instead of value capture, because the learning is built for business value.
The key to designing learning around key business objectives that can create a strong ROI takes careful planning and a concerted effort to accomplish. This mind set of being accountable to business goals, however, keeps things in perspective for all stakeholders. Employers may too want to review how they measure the results of learning design.

4 key factors to consider for your design strategy:
1. Design for context. Make sure to recognize where people are, what their goals are and what they’re trying to accomplish in the temporal moment.
2. Design for connection. Similar to context, connection allows people to access their workplace social networks to get help. If employees take photos or videos and share them, they can all learn from their colleagues’ experiences.
3. Design for operations. As operational information and Big Data are increasingly broken down into readable measurements, design ensures dashboards are meaningful to the people using them.
4. Design to make employees smarter. Rather than have a system that tells human  beings exactly what to do and excludes them from the decision-making process.

Design thinking approaches business goals in a systematic way, with stakeholders getting what they want, while the organization controls costs and remains true to business results. This happens in a few critical steps, including: understanding the “why” of the project, expecting that things will be successful, designing for maximum impact, and making sure there is a way to measure return on investment.

Design shifts the responsibility to drive business results to all stakeholders. It also redefines learning success. It’s not just absorbing skills and knowledge, or even using them in your work, learning is now defined as driving impact in the organization.

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