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Bola Owoade

Jewish Care

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

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Learning strategy, what is it anyway?

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What is a learning strategy (or learning and development strategy if you call it that)?  And is it even necessary to have one? I believe defining what a learning strategy is, should be simple and straightforward, and not subject to academic fantasies that sometimes makes simple concepts much more complex than they need to be. So here is my simple definition - it is an action plan outlining how learning will be used to support an organisation or business to achieve it's strategic objectives. In other words a learning strategy simply shows how learning as a resource will be used to support the organisation to achieve its aims and objectives.  Defining a learning strategy this way makes the learning and development function a strategic partner just like Marketing or Sales, necessary for the success of the organisation.

An accusation often levelled at learning and development teams is that a lot of what they do has no alignment to what the organisation or business wants to achieve, and that's why learning and development teams are sometimes not respected much within the organisation. If you've ever experienced being in an organisation when things become difficult and redundancies are necessary, you will know that learning and development personnel are some of the first to get the chop. That really shouldn't be the case if learning and development is seen as a strategic partner necessary to the business. How can a learning strategy help with this situation? A good learning strategy should align investment in learning to what the business needs, focusing all it's actions on supporting the core goals of the organisation. This involves first understanding what the organisation wants to achieve, how they want to achieve it and identifying clearly where learning can be brought into play to help people take the necessary actions to move the organisation forward.

A good learning strategy should also challenge learning and development people to think first as business people before learning and development people. Summarily a learning strategy should outline how the learning and development function will align it's actions to the organisation or business strategy, challenge us as learning and development practitioners to think like business people first and help people to see us as key strategic partners rather than a mere provider of training services.

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Bola Owoade

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

Read more from Bola Owoade
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