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Learning is not compulsory...neither is survival W. Edward Deming

    We live in an information age. While the quantity of data is incredible, the quality is varied and chaotic. We need to choose the right information if the organization is to thrive. We recognize that things are changing faster every day. To keep up, learners must adapt, change, and learn at every opportunity. Here are some critical trends that are emerging:  
    Business needs and the skills necessary to meet those needs are requiring a closer and closer fit. It is both the technical skills and the
   behaviors that need to be blended together.
    The learners are changing - Many have grown up on the PC, so gravitate to distance learning classes. The classroom is still important, but
   people want access to the information they want when they want it. They see technology as an integral part of their life.
    Training is more complex - Technology is advancing at an ever-more-rapid rate. The technology of the computer, the technology of business, and
   the technology of learning are merging and demanding more resources be made available if the enterprise wants to remain competitive.
    Employee performance must keep up - Change never ends so our need for learning never ends. That means that employees need to have a
   clear path and understanding of what it takes to be successful. Without that knowledge and knowledge management tools there is increasing
   frustration. This leads to turnover and results in dysfunction in the workplace.
    Growth and learning are critical to the success of any enterprise. The impact of continuing education like online employee training, coaching and online executive education can be seen in improved customer satisfaction, better productivity, lower costs of accomplishing goals, higher profits, enhanced employee morale and retention, and an organization that is moving in the right direction — In short, a winner in the marketplace.  
    The FIRST step in creating a learning plan (learning model) is to generate a performance plan for each individual. The performance planning system (Performance Development Plan or PDP) is a formal framework:  
    1). For having a dialogue with their supervisor and discussing their performance over the last period of performance,  
    2). Setting their individual goals and objectives for the next period,  
    3). Developing their plans for expanding their own personal capabilities, and  
    4). Determining their personal involvement in achieving the business results.  

Included in that performance plan should be a Personal Growth Plan that includes a specific Personal Action Plan. Identify at least 3 areas of strengths and 3 areas where future development can occur. These can be identified by examining past performance as well as the future demands of the position. All of this must be aligned with the overall direction of the business.  For assistance in helping to craft a good performance planning process we refer you to . When a proper human system is created as a foundation and platform, the establishment of the other programs will follow and develop more naturally.  Chief among these is a learning path for each person.

SECOND we should recognize that learning comes in all forms. It is found as an informal process though conversations with others, books and articles read, reference materials located on-line, mentoring and coaching from trusted sources, special job aids and checklists, assessments  and tests, and through on-the-job experience. These and others all contribute to our daily and informal acquisition of information and should be a part of the learning plan.

Learning can also come from more formal settings and venues. Live classroom training is a traditional approach with seminars and workshops are held with an instructor available to guide the learning. We now add the virtual classroom, online education programs, distance learning classes, where online business training occurs in remote locations but with the same guidance and personal coaching. Online training courses and simulations are now available with the same quality and depth as live-classroom instruction, but with the advantage of “move-at-your-own-pace” technology.
    THIRD we should understand how to take this online professional and personal development activity and turn it to our business advantage.  
    1). Most organizations start by thinking of training as a cost and an expense. While the need for training may be perceived, it is primarily focused on
     skills training or knowing the technical aspects of how to do a job.
    2). When management sees that the most critical need for improvement comes from modifying behaviors, they begin to add the training in
     behaviors or how people accomplish a function. Organizations begin to see the learning as an investment in the total person that generates
     significant positive results. They know that a real and substantial Return on Investment (ROI) with a total business focus is generated from good
     online employee training program. There is no doubt about the short term pay-out and the long-term value.
    3). Finally they achieve the true competitive advantage they want from a focus on performance throughout the organization. The people who work
      there become the true strategic advantage of the business. While outside observers may look at the mechanics of the business process, the
      underlying “secret” to success can be discovered in the quality of the people and each individual’s ability to serve themselves, their customers,
      and their organization with equal commitment.
    Stage 1 finds Supplemental or Ad Hoc Learning.  
    The initiation of a learning program into the company with e-learning as a part adds new resources to the existing and more traditional programs. There is generally a pent-up demand for the learning. The learning process may or may not be very organized, but it begins to emerge in an ad-hoc way.  
    Stage 2 finds Targeted or Managed Learning.  
    When the program becomes managed and e-learning becomes more available, we see more targeted efforts to reduce the redundant content and to save money through efficiency.  
    Stage 3 finds Strategic or Aligned Learning.  

It is at this stage that learning becomes sponsored as a strategic tool and applied to job competencies. There is a significant effort to link the strategic goals of the company with the learning that must be done. There is full commitment by management. Each individual has their tasks, behaviors, and roles clearly aligned with the learning that continues to occur.

    Stage 4 finds Systematic or Integrated Learning.  
    Critical mass starts to occur. The vision of learning as a strategic difference in the marketplace is being realized. At this point perhaps 80% of the organization has access to learning resources at the workplace, at home, or on the road.  
    Stage 5 finds Optimized or Performance Learning.  

Each person in the organization has complete access to all learning resources and is proficient in finding and aligning their requirements to the needs of the business. The business sees the training as saving time, money and even the business itself. Mentoring and coaching is combined with certifications, skill courses, business skill courses, and a full array of learning aids to produce and integrated process.


What does it take to achieve this optimized approach to learning? Call us at 973-378-8456 or email us at .

We would love to be invited to discuss with you our approach for creating your learning plan in your organization.

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