Training organizations today face a variety of challenges, including training consistency, limited resources, securing an internal champion, content relevancy, evaluating effectiveness, sustaining training’s impact, prioritization of training and learner experience across modalities. Facing these challenges requires a shift from focusing on courses or programs to focusing on training as a system. The modern learning system is a framework for doing just that. It encompasses the factors driving the need for training, training itself, and the measurement and evaluation of training:

The Modern Learning System

Triggers are what drives the need – or at least the perception of the need – for training. It’s the learning leader’s responsibility to decide which triggers warrant a response from the training organization.

Learner preferences are the proclivity for different training modalities, such as on-the-job training or coaching, social learning, performance support tools, gamification, and formal coaching.

Learning paths are the comprehensive maps training organizations design to guide learners through skill and knowledge acquisition.

Delivery systems are the ways in which different modalities work together to deliver training content.

Measurement is the way a training organization collects data and uses it to evaluate the effectiveness of the modern learning system – and then to make decisions based on that data.

Data is the information gathered through sources such as observation, a learning management system or assessment tools. Every part of the modern learning system is informed by data.

The formality continuum is the range of learning from unstructured informal or social learning to very structured formal learning experiences.

The modern learning system can be compared to a road trip. Triggers are what cause the driver to plan the trip – maybe she has time off work, for example. Performance goals are a destination, like the beach. Modality preferences are the type of vehicle she wants to use to get to her destination (is she taking a convertible? a pickup truck?), and learning paths are the map she uses to determine the route she’ll take to get there. Her GPS uses data to re-route her when needed to avoid traffic or accidents.

Using the modern learning system, learning leaders can ensure that the training provided to employees in their organization is efficient and well-designed, aligned to business outcomes, and effectively improves performance.

More information about the modern learning system is available in Training Industry’s research report “The Anatomy of the Modern Learning System.”