Certpoint Article 2 Putting It All Together


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Ara Ohanian explains how closer ties between management, operations and training make for higher impact learning, faster.

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Certpoint Article 2 Putting It All Together

  1. 1. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER Ara Ohanian explains how closer ties between management, operations and training make for higher impact learning, faster. T oday, an enterprise’s people have BEYOND BLENDED LEARNING Many organisations still train this way, but never been more important to its Traditionally, the training department was a this isolated form of training delivery, slow success, something that service provider to the rest of the to respond to business need, no longer executives and managers organisation. Largely, it was only concerned provides training that is rapid or focused increasingly understand. They are looking to with providing courses at the request of HR enough for today’s world. their Learning and Development (L&D) and of management. Its focus, therefore, In time, as the training department departments for help, asking them to take a was on internal efficiency – in particular, changed into the learning and development lead in ensuring relevant competence and on making classroom delivery as efficient as (L&D) department, it became clear that knowledge throughout the enterprise and possible. L&D was about more than simply delivering beyond. training, and that learning could In the past, the learning and development occur outside the classroom. profession has seen fads focused on both Training The result was ‘blended learning’. At technologies and on methodologies. first nothing more than a classroom However, technologies and methods are course with the addition of a book only individual components of a broader Training or some online reading materials, approach to organisational learning, an requests and blended learning has rapidly approach which some companies are fulfilment become the standard delivery already deploying to great effect. mechanism for learning materials in In these organisations, frontline operations most organisations. It remains, are supported by both management focus however, just that: a delivery and by training delivery. The result: a new Frontline Management mechanism, not an integral part of approach to organisational learning, with operations and leadership the organisation. L&D directly serving key operations to Today, this style of blended learning deliver impact at the front line of the is no longer enough, not by itself. It enterprise, and beyond. focuses on delivery rather than on This approach is called ‘integrated learning’. results, and on materials, not December 2009 Inside Learning Technologies 75
  2. 2. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER performance. But the successful L&D people who have the most effect on 1. Focus on results and speed department of today is not a separate organisational success. The front line operations in your body from the rest of the organisation, like organisation have targets to meet and will Although a systematic integration of the traditional training department. It work closely with any L&D initiative that corporate goals into learning is core to works closely with other departments. In helps them achieve those targets rapidly. integrated learning, this does not mean particular it has close links with front line that an integrated approach requires For example, the rental company Aaron’s operational departments such as Sales and massive investment in systems. Some Rents wanted to maintain and improve Production, where enhanced performance technology is required, but it is as sales across 1,500 outlets in the US. Part has a direct effect on organisational important to invest in understanding the of their approach to this was to implement effectiveness. It also works closely with needs of the rest of the organisation, and a new sales staff training programme. leadership to meet organisational goals. working with it. Once this route had been identified, each Going beyond blended learning takes the day of delay before well-trained staff The key factor behind successful integrated L&D department into integrated learning. stepped onto the shop floor was a day of learning is the attitude of the L&D department. It has to be a potentially lower sales revenue. Aaron’s department that steps outside its opted to deliver the training through a own domain. Integrated learning rapidly-deployed, integrated Learning begins with conversations with the Management System that included LMS, other departments (sales, LCMS and web 2.0 collaboration. The Learning and result: the L&D department working with operations, production, marketing, development operations and sales to design, deploy and etc.) that make up the organisation, and which make it a success. implement the LMS in just three weeks. That’s a focus on results at work! INTEGRATING LEARNING IN YOUR ORGANISATION 2. Integrate with management Integrated learning involves taking In the past, the training department was Frontline Management learning from the province of L&D able to work to its own schedule, operations and leadership out into other departments. The producing courses for the organisation to result is pervasive learning consume, knowing that the content would throughout an enterprise. But it is match the largely unchanged needs of the only possible for L&D to do this business. effectively by focusing on what With today’s rapid rate of change, this unites it with these other departments: method is inadequate. Instead, L&D has to the goals of the organisation, and work closely with organisational INTEGRATED LEARNING achieving them as rapidly as possible. management and leadership to ensure not Integrated learning helps organisations only that the right content is developed, Integrated learning rests on four crucial remain effective by putting the knowledge but also that it is deployed in ways that pillars: of the organisation to work faster than meet the sometimes conflicting needs of traditional classroom training, and by 1. Focus on results and speed the organisation – with the conflict usually ensuring at the same time that the skills between a need for skills on the job, and and knowledge delivered are entirely 2. Integrate with management time taken off to learn them. relevant to organisational goals. 3. Integrate with learners Understanding organisational goals and Integrated learning, therefore, both includes 4. Support by technology meeting them quickly is one area in which the blended learning approach it is crucial to integrate to delivery and goes with management. beyond it, incorporating Learning and development Another is working organisational goals as a intelligently with existing key driver to its activity. management procedures In an integrated approach Core L&D activity, and information. For to learning, each area including content creation, example, the executive concentrates on its own storage and delivery may have called in core role and the L&D external specialists to department supports the build a competency Learning and Training framework for the other departments as support management organisation. appropriate, see example systems systems on the right. Sales Competency It might be tempting to While blended learning based L&D try to incorporate the focuses on the delivery planning entire framework into Core activities mechanism of training, L&D operations, to Performance including target integrated learning focuses provide a complete Production management setting, delegation on the performance results mapping of courses to and reporting of the organisation. The the competencies top priority is improving identified as the effectiveness of those Frontline Management organisationally in frontline operations, the operations and leadership essential. It would be 76 Inside Learning Technologies December 2009
  3. 3. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER There are two essential ways to integrate L&D with learners. content brought together over time. Such organisations will want to consider The first is to encourage their contribution. Adding learner replacing these time-consuming input not only boosts the content available in a system, it also combinations of tools with an all-in-one system that includes the LMS and LCMS increases learning through stronger engagement. functionality that they need to move to integrated learning. The system must be able to import existing learner data and tempting, but not the best use of valuable • understand your audience course content. time. Organisations that already have an LMS in • build ‘champion’ groups This is a process that could take months. place have until recently faced a similar • go for quick wins choice: to strip out the LMS and replace it Instead, work with management to understand where the introduction of • get expert help and funding with a more comprehensive solution, or competencies into L&D could have the to try to make it work in conjunction • build credibility and kudos internally with a variety of content management greatest effect. Probably the core 20% of competencies, applied to L&D for the • get external recognition tools. essential 20% of frontline personnel will An alternative solution exists, however: • maintain the motivation make a substantial difference to frontline integration with a single tool which results. combines LMS capability with a Learning 4. Support by technology Content Management System (LCMS). 3. Integrate with learners None of the above is possible without technology - but what technology? As Working together with other departments There are two essential ways to integrate will lead, eventually, to demands for seen above, the need to focus on speed L&D with learners. The first is to encourage other forms of integration. Any learning and results means that whatever their contribution. Adding learner input system must also be able to work with technology is deployed, it must: not only boosts the content available in a your existing legacy HR and ERP software, system, it also increases learning through • be quick to deploy because sooner or later you may be asked stronger engagement. to establish a link between the two. • be fairly priced Collaborative technologies such as blogs, Nobody wants two systems carrying • be manageable by the L&D department, wikis, Microsoft SharePoint, and online personnel data, and a system that is open not by external consultants meetings are now part of many people’s to integration with, for example, SAP and working lives, and they expect to be able • include the functionality you need, not Oracle/PeopleSoft will enable you to save to use them in e-learning. the bells and whistles you don’t your own time and to leverage the However, remember the need to focus • include training tailored to the investment your organisation has already on speed and results. Any time spent functionality that will be used made. integrating this technology with other • incorporate collaborative learning tools LEARNING BEYOND THE ENTERPRISE systems is time not spent delivering results. Instead, look for learning platform • integrate with third party learning tools Companies such as Black & Decker have technologies that already incorporate extended their L&D operations beyond With good technology support, it is collaborative functionality and are pre- their own organisations and included possible to make the transition from the configured to integrate with other tools. partners in the extended enterprise. This is traditional training department to This means you don’t have to pay for in keeping with the web 2.0 world, where integrated learning. integration. More importantly, though, it people expect openness and transparency, means you can keep focused on results. Given that most organisations already and easily accessible information. have some learning systems in place, how A larger, crucial part of integration with Innovative organisations are now going does this help or hinder them in moving to learners is your adoption plan. When further, using their LMS to open up their integrated learning? introducing any learning to an organisation, learning not only to partners, but also to include these points in your plan to ensure Many L&D departments work with home- clients. This is using L&D not merely to that your learners are on board: grown systems, combinations of tools and support the frontline, but to extend it. December 2009 Inside Learning Technologies 79
  4. 4. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER Giving clients direct access to quality Giving clients direct access to quality learning not only reduces learning about products and services not only reduces support and support and maintenance calls, it enhances customer loyalty maintenance calls, it enhances customer and sets competitors a barrier to entry. loyalty and sets competitors a barrier to entry. This approach of extending learning to CONCLUSION rather than over-engineered systematic clients as well as its partners leads to a Integrated learning is essential to meeting learning perfection produced in larger view of integrated learning: the needs of modern organisations in both isolation. the public and private Such close integration demands the third sectors. characteristic: integrated technological Integrated learning support, particularly of learning content. has three hallmarks. To be truly focused on speed, the L&D Learning and department cannot spend its time on development, implementation, administration and Clients and Learning and tinkering with technical maintenance of partners development although still controlled centrally by several different systems. the L&D department, Only with the right technical support can is integrated into the an organisation truly benefit from operations of the integrated learning. business. This results Frontline Management in the second operations and leadership characteristic: a Ara Ohanian is CEO of CERTPOINT Systems. management-driven This is an extract from the CERTPOINT focus on speed and on white paper on Integrated Learning, one results, on practical of a series of papers available at business results http://bit.ly/CPNTWhitePapers achieved in unison, 80 Inside Learning Technologies December 2009