No Image Available

Bola Owoade

Jewish Care

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

Read more from Bola Owoade

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Creating a lean learning strategy – answering the sixth question


This post concentrates on the last of the six learning strategy questions. In previous posts I have gone through answering the first five questions which are:

  1. What are the key strategic objectives that your organisation needs to achieve?
  2. What key actions must your organisation achieve to achieve these strategic objectives?
  3. What organisational capabilities does your organisation need to take these key actions successfully?
  4. What skills and knowledge do people need for the organisation to have the right capabilities?
  5. How will the L&D function help people to acquire the right mix of skills and knowledge?

The sixth question is, How will the L&D function know that people have acquired the right skills and knowledge and that the organisation has developed the right capabilities? This is a question of learning evaluation, in other words identifying what value L&D is adding to the business. In my opinion this is the toughest question to answer  and an area L&D have traditionally found challenging. Although this question will be much easier to answer if the first three questions have been answered thoroughly.

Tim and his team at Complete Compliance (a fictional L&D team I have been using to answer the questions) are pondering over this question and for them the key to answering it is clearly identifying what business goals need to be achieved and how skills and knowledge can support the business to achieve those goals.

As I stated earlier if Tim and his team have spent the time answering the first three questions properly they will already have a partial answer to question six. So based on the answers to questions four and five, if the learning interventions have been delivered and people have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge, helping the organisation to acquire the necessary capabilities to take key actions that will lead to the achievement of business goals, then we can conclude that L&D is definitely adding value to the business.

I wish it was that simple, in the real world things don’t run that smoothly because there are many other variables beyond having the right skills and knowledge that result in the right type of performance that an organisation needs. There are issues of good leadership and management, people's attitude, the right resources, working environment, impact of the external environment and more. All these things the L&D function have no total control over. so what can they do? The trick is to identify a few measures that can be used to isolate the impact of L&D on the business.

Tim and his team are working with the software development team to identify success measures. They’ve allowed an initial three months for development in the new technologies (alongside with doing the work off course), and have set a goal that by the end of six months, a functional beta version of the new platform will be ready. They’ve also clearly identified the kind of support the team will need apart from learning and development. If at the end of six months the software development team can produce a version 1 of the platform, then the L&D team can attest that they helped the software development team to acquire the right skills and knowledge. Also to make sure that they are on the right track, Tim and his team will check-in with the software team fortnightly to see how they are doing.

The L&D team have also been working similarly in regards to project management in the company. They have identified the key business goals that need to be achieved and the learning goals to support it. For instance a goal for those involved in project management across the organisation is to develop a framework to use to manage all major organisational projects. The learning goal therefore is that 3 months after any learning intervention they would have developed the framework to be ready for use and within 6 months have applied it to at least one main project successfully. It is important that learning evaluation is based on the achievement of a business goal and not merely the completion of a learning intervention.

Now all the six questions have been answered, but there is still more to do. How will the strategy be presented to people at different levels of the organisation? What happens now that the strategy has been completed and communicated to people across the organisation successfully? These questions will be looked at in subsequent posts, but in the next post I will introduce you to a template for the six questions, which I have called the lean learning strategy canvas.

No Image Available
Bola Owoade

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

Read more from Bola Owoade

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!