Normally when the leaders of training/learning departments think about their strategy, they think of it in terms of a “learning strategy”. This strategy often consists of examining what courses and programs will be built and implemented, and what resources will be required. Traditional training strategies have long been aligned to what training looks like: A structured curriculum that is distributed to learners.
This type of a learning and performance strategy doesn’t align with the various ways that individuals learn, especially in a workplace setting. For example:
- We respect that learning that takes place outside of the formal courses and programs that are built by the L&D team.
- We understand the value social connections add to an organization’s ability to learn, grow, and make work more effective.
- We feel the pressure to create less disruptive alternatives to “training”, and see the value that performance support plays in that space.
- We marvel at the ways advancements in technology enhance our lives and the possibilities they open up for learning and performance.
Organizational learning and performance strategies have failed to keep up with how the workplace is evolving. In truth, many workers are taking advantage of the opportunities represented in the bullets above, but they are doing so on their own, without the support of the L&D Team. Traditional L&D strategy is rapidly falling behind the changing face of the workplace.
But that’s starting to change as more organizations broaden their viewpoint and look at the full spectrum of resources that are available to individuals to support their work.
The Ecosystem Strategy
A well-supported Learning and Performance Ecosystem enhances individual and organizational effectiveness by connecting people and supporting them with a broad range of content, processes, tools, and technologies to drive performance. An Ecosystem-focused strategy is built upon a fundamental understanding of the environment an individual exists in, including all of the resources that are available and the various dynamics that affect how those resources are consumed.
This expanded scope requires that we examine our work through a new lens. Here are 10 reasons to consider focusing on the entire organizational ecosystem when building your learning and performance strategy:
- An ecosystem-based strategy focuses energy on where L&D has influence.
- An ecosystem-based strategy takes into account factors that affect learning and performance that L&D does not influence.
- An ecosystem-based strategy looks at the processes in which work takes place, and how they support or create barriers to learning and performance.
- An ecosystem-based strategy values connectedness, encouraging the sharing in existing networks and facilitating new ones.
- An ecosystem-based strategy focuses on identifying problems that affect the overall health of the work environment, and providing solutions in ways that are less disruptive to work.
- An ecosystem-based strategy in consultative rather than purely solution-based.
- An ecosystem-based strategy sees learning and performance as a living organic entity that needs to be continuously nurtured.
- An ecosystem-based strategy takes advantage of possibilities and opportunities presented by new technologies.
- An ecosystem-based strategy maximizes capital investments by looking existing technologies in new ways.
- An ecosystem-based strategy expands the influence of L&D by providing learning and performance support in ways and in spaces that L&D traditionally has not had influence.
In short, an ecosystem-focused strategy positions L&D to have greater value to organizations. It also better prepares the L&D function to adapt as the workplace, and work itself, continues to evolve. Understanding the scope of the Learning and Performance Ecosystem, and how that translates to the competencies needed by L&D professionals, is the first step.
Over the past few years more and more organizations have expressed concern about the declining value of traditional training strategies. The training industry has long sought the proverbial “seat at the table”, and that will only happen when we adapt our strategies to the changes going on around us in the workplace.
This is why we have created the Learning and Performance Ecosystem Conference. Ecosystem 2015 serves as a forum where forward-thinking learning and performance leaders can engage in discussions that explore this expanded approach to strategy. It’s a conference that focuses on conversation, and changing the way we look at your organizational learning & performance strategy.
Join us, and not only will you change the way you see your own strategy, you can also help shift how the industry as a whole views learning and performance strategy in the future.
Interested in taking a deeper dive into Learning and Performance Ecosystem? Download our new free white paper, Learning and Performance Ecosystems: Strategy, Technology, Impact, and Challenges, written by Marc J. Rosenberg & Steve Foreman. This white paper explores learning and performance ecosystems from conceptual, technological, cultural, and managerial perspectives, and looks into how this new framework will dramatically impact the ways in which people learn and work. It lays a foundation for further discussion, experimentation, and innovation into new ways to leverage all that we know about learning to improve workforce performance.