Q. We are currently revising our learning and development strategic plan in light of the downturn. How can I ensure we are making informed investment decisions about our future learning and development?
A. Developing strategy in the context of leading practice provides a frame
work, structure and methodology for
learning and development (L&D) strategy. In
short, good decisions begin with good in
formation, and mapping current activity to
leading practice provides this focus.
A comprehensive examination of current in
dustry trends in learning and development and
a review of literature from leading academics
in the organisational development space assist
in establishing current leading practice and pro
vide a point of reference for relevant HR stan
dards. This research can be undertaken inter
nally and externally and ensures that
evidence-based information is on hand.
Internal stakeholders are a vital primary
information source that should be consulted
to help determine the individual and overall
learning and development wants and needs
of the organisation. These conversations are
integral for ascertaining skill gaps for spe
cific operational areas and overall profes
sional development required for particular
The application of the following nine criti
cal dimensions assists the analysis of L&D prac
tice working to guarantee informed investment
decisions are made.
The first of the dimensions is organisa
tional alignment, hence a clear link exists
between the strategic direction of the or
ganisation and L&D – therefore, an align
ment with the overall business plan is evi
dent. Management and governance follows
this dimension with review of the L&D organisational structures and processes with
the decision-making authority that have
Learning culture checks that learning is
visibly supported everywhere: on the job,
in the classroom, over the internet and
among peers and this dimension reviews that
learning initiatives are part of everyone’s daily
The fourth dimension, capability frame
work involves a comprehensive mapping
of skills and competencies that exist for staff.
These are visibly linked to broader human
resource activities. The next dimension is
evaluation and measurement confirming
evaluations and associated measurement
are conducted on both a short-term and
Supplier management is the fifth dimen
sion, making certain that a sourcing and ven
dor management strategy for the acquisi
tion of learning content and/or services exists
and delivery is the consideration that the
appropriate delivery methods are selected
depending on identified resources, constraints
Content ensures that material is visible
across the organisation, resulting in reduced
duplication of content and more effective use
and re-use of learning material.
The ninth and final dimension is technol
ogy. This dimension is concerned with the use
of technology in an overall L&D strategy and checks that an enterprise-wide learning por
tal that provides a single point of access to
robust learning practices is in place.
While there is some overlap, each di
mension requires individual attention to
develop leading practice. These will assist
the development of an informed learning and
development strategic plan.
By Angie Taras, director, business development, DeakinPrime. Tel: 03 9918 9110. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.