Published in Nov/Dec 2018
The race is on. Today’s fast-paced world is leading to increased expectations on just about everything – and learning and development (L&D) is not immune from this pressure. Whether it’s training professionals getting new employees to proficiency as quickly as possible or learners challenged with finding the information they need to efficiently solve a problem on the job, the pressure is real.
L&D is becoming more integral as the speed of business increases. As the Greek lyrical poet Archilochus once said, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” Success is dependent on our training and preparation. We can’t merely set goals and expect to achieve our desired outcomes without effort. We need to roll up our sleeves and put in the work.
As learning professionals, we must set the bar for organizational performance and prepare employees to meet and exceed expectations. For employees to excel in the workplace, they must have training that is relevant and applicable to their roles. They must be able to practice their skills in the context of their daily workflow, and they must have access to related information at the point of need.
With the challenge of turning expectations into concrete results, how can training professionals ensure they are delivering learning solutions that hit the mark? How can they meet the unique needs of their learners and reach the goals set by the organizations they serve? Identifying key success metrics is an important first step when developing a training strategy.
Learning professionals have become accustomed to wearing many hats and juggling competing priorities to ensure successful training takes place. It often feels like there’s a tradeoff to be made when it comes to competing priorities. Choosing among price, quality and speed are challenges frequently faced by learning professionals. The scenarios are endless. You could quickly deploy an off-the-shelf training program to avoid the cost and time to develop a personalized program, or you could focus on developing a highly personalized program that inevitably takes longer to produce but could be irrelevant when launched. Can you ever have it all?
By narrowing the scope of a project and focusing on what success looks like for the learner, training professionals can gain a deeper understanding of the components that are necessary for effective performance. If you’re not sure where to begin, start by defining success in terms of the three big variables: price, quality and speed.
- Price: What is your training budget? Identify available resources and areas where you may need to invest.
- Quality: Define how the program will help learners improve their performance and what features will enhance or inhibit the intended outcome.
- Speed: Determine the timeframe in which the solution needs to be deployed and how learners will access the information.
All these factors contribute to the scope of a project and play a role in defining success. By keeping the learner in mind when designing the program, L&D is better positioned to create more strategic training offerings that target what learners need to succeed.
As the tempo of business continues to rise, organizations are challenged with keeping pace. This challenge puts increasing pressure on business units to do more in less time and with fewer resources. By taking a step back to consider what learners need to succeed in the context of their work environment, L&D can develop learning solutions that create value and prepare employees to navigate the challenges of their role.