Who We Serve Learning & Development Organizations
Learning and development organizations, when run effectively and efficiently, contribute significantly to the success of the enterprise. The problem is that they are often not effective or efficient; and even when they are, they may not have implemented the processes necessary to demonstrate their value. In response to these far too common problems, a passion of ours is helping learning and development organizations run more like a business unit that provides a vital internal service which positively impacts the bottom line. In doing that, they can transition from being perceived as just a cost center - which then results in constant struggles for funds and stature - to being seen as a valued partner to the core business.
The learning and development organization may be a single department or a group of entities. These days, a lot of learning and development activities are outsourced; and the learning organization should include them. Invariably, some learning and development activities are conducted exclusively by specific departments (e.g., a department's on-boarding process for a new employee). Those activites present special challenges to the learning organization. Those challenges include becoming aware that such activites are ocurring and getting the department to include the learning organization, in whatever capacity, in those activities.
Toward that goal of running as a business, we help learning and development organizations establish and improve the processes through which they both deliver services and manage their operations. In a corporate setting, the term learning and development services can refer to a broad range of activities. Generally speaking, it is a service whose purpose is to support the business processes of one or more customers. Learning and development service management (LDSM) is the global process of implementing and managing the services. LDSM typically involves a mix of people, processes, technology, and other resources and materials.
One of the first tasks in establishing LDSM and successfully running the organization as a busines is promoting a service culture, both within the organization and the entire enterprise. A service culture is both an attitude and a set of practices that reflect a customer-oriented approach whose major objectives are customer satisfaction and helping customers to achieve their business objectives. For some learning and development personnel adopting a service culture may involve a significant change in perspective and approach. It almost always involves similar shifts in the enterprise and the specific customer-base. Best practices indicate the the process of adopting a service culture be treated as a change management project for both the learning organization and the enterprise. You can review our model for the development of a learning organization to better understand how to sequence the implementation of both service delivery and operational management processes.
The purpose of one set of processes in the learning and development organization is to deliver services. The core services are detailed below. Each is comprised of many other sub-processes and services. For instance, curriculum development includes sub-processes for assessing the learning needs and objectives, developing curriculum, establishing ongoing feedback and evaluation systems, and submitting requests and conducting revisions.
Also included in the categoryof service dlivery is the learning and management database. Placing it in this category is somewhat artificial iin that it is actually used for both the service delivery and the operational mangement processes. It is placed in this category because service delivery is customer-facing application, and that makes it unique and presents additional challenges. The service delivery processes include:
All service and operational data needs to be stored, maintained, and made available to both internal staff and customers - based on their needs and role. That repository is the learning and development management database, or LDMDB. It's important to note that the LMDB is a process, not a technology. The LDMDB may be a single database or system, or it could be multiple ones. If the decision is to use a single system for all the learning and development functions, there are many good learning management systems (LMS) available.
Curriculum development is an essential function. The output can be any of a myriad of materials: instructor-led or e-learning course content, self-study materials, job aids, etc. The process for delivering it should be formalized using industry best practices, such as the ADDIE model or other methodologies. The key, as with any process is that it provides consistency and is effective in delivering a quality service.
Instructor development is the process to prepare instructors so that material can be conssitently and effectively delivered, noting that there will always be differences in style. It includes the development of instructor materials, behavioral training and practicing, and feedback materials and mechanisms. Becase they often have different basic skillsets, there are likely to be differences in the development programs for internal and external instructors. But, experience is no guarantee of quality and assessment of instructional skills is essential. In either case, instructors are the most direct representatives of the the learning organization and their preparation should be be treated with that consideration in mind. All instructors should demonstrate sound classroom management skills, be able to deliver in a style that keeps participants motivated and engaged.
Programs are broader learning and development activities, typically with commenserate larger objectives, than individual session or single topic activities. That breadth typically requires more complex needs analysis, design and development, and management. Some programs are sourced heavily to the learning organization for all components. and in other instances the learning organization provides merely guidance and quality control.
This is the process responsible for managing all logistical aspects of learning and development events throughout their lifecycle. Events are defined as the delivery of any learning and development service. That includes: instructor-led classes, webinars and other e-learning courses, train-the-trainer sessions, releasing training collateral in both hardcopy and electronically, etc. Event management includes, but is not limited to: planning, scheduling, facilities and infrastructure, printing and shipping training materials, travel and lodging, food and refreshments, entertainment, prizes or other giveaways.
Change management is the process for controlling the lifecycle of all changes, enabling beneficial changes to be made with minimum disruption to learning and development services.A change is any addition, modification, or removal of something from a learning and development service. The scope should be defined to include include changes to: all instructor and participant materials, instructor delivery, scheduling, resources, processes. A schedule, with metrics or milestones, to track the change should be established, with related documentation.
Operationl management processes relate to the functions necessary to manage the learning and development organizatin. They include:
Staff management is important in any organization. In addition to general staff maangement practices, it is important to note that most service delivery staff are highly educated professionals. As such, they are likely to be independent minded; but as educators, they also recognize the necessity of working with a team. Most take great pride in their work and appreciate recognition. As the organization matures in being run as a busness, staff performance should be more directly tied to meeting service level agreements.
This is the process responsible for ensuring that the internal and external assets required to deliver learning and development services are properly controlled, and available when and where they are needed. Assets include service (i.e., development, delivery, and event management) staff, technology, materials, and facilities. The management process also includes accurate and reliable information (e.g., staff professional profiles, instructional manuals, etc.) about the assets.
This process is responsible for ensuring that the learning and development organization can always provide the minimum agreed upon services. It does so by managing the risks that could seriously affect the provision of services and planning for how services can be quickly recovered when there is a disruption. Some of the factors to be considered in continuity management include: safeguarding the interests and needs of key stakeholders, the reputation and brand of both the learning organization and the overall enterprise, and prioritizing the value of activities.
Availability management is the process for ensuring that the existing learning and development services can meet the current needs in a cost-effective and manner. It considers all the resources required to deliver services. Then an analysis is conducted to determine whether staff skillsets, staffing levels, processes, facilities, technology, tools, and other resources are appropriate to meet the service level agreements.
Financial management entails the finctions and processes responsible for managing the learning and development organization's budgeting, accounting, and charging requirements. The ultimate goal of financial management is to secure an appropriate level of funding to design, develop, and deliver services that meet the strategy of the organization in a cost-effective manner.
The service level management (SLM) process is responsible for negotiating achievable service level agreements and ensuring that they are met. SLM is analyses all other service processes and the underpinning agreements to determine whether they are adequate for meeting the agreed upon objectives and other service level targets. Service level management monitors and reports on service outcomes, holds regular service reviews with customers, and identifies required improvements.
The SLM process starts with a service request, which is a formal request from a customer for something to be provided. Service requests may come through a standard, possibly automated, process or be made directly to a service provider. Service requests may be linked to a request for change. If a standard - meaning pre-authorized - request, they are transferred directly to the fulfillment process. If it is not a standard request, it must be approved before being assigned to a service provider for fulfillment.
Once the request is approved and transferred for fulfillment, a service level agreement (SLA) is established between the learning and development service provider and the customer. A service level agreement describes the service, documents the objectives, describes the service, and specifies the responsibilities of the learning and development service provider and the customer. The SLA should also include service level requirements, which are determined by the customer's business objectives and used to negotiate measurable service outcomes. The service valuation, which is a measurement of the total cost of delivering the learning and development service, should also be calculated and included in the SLA.
We provide a range of organizational development services to help you build your learning and development organization, and run it like a business. You can review review our model for how to sequence the development of a learning organization and learn more about the services we provide.
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