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Bola Owoade

Jewish Care

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

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The Learning Strategy Story – Introduction


Learning and development is a crucial part of medium to large organisations as there is a core belief that the most important resource in an organisation is the people.

The aim of learning and development is to ensure people have the required skills and knowledge to do their jobs. This also ensures that if people within an organisation perform as required then the organisation will achieve its strategic objectives. Unfortunately it’s not that straightforward.

An accusation often levelled at learning and development functions is, a lot of what they do has little or no impact on the organisation. In other words learning and development teams are doing a lot of hard work that doesn’t benefit the organisation that much. The question should not be whether these accusations are true, but why are they being levelled against us in the first place. A popular adage says that, there is no smoke without a fire, in this context we might have to agree that there is some level of truth in the accusation. If that be the case, what do we as learning and development practitioners do to change this dim view.

Some learning and development teams have responded by creating a learning and development strategy, which is a plan that links learning and development investment to an organisation’s most important priorities. This implies that most, if not all investment in learning and development will be based on what the organisation needs to succeed and not what the learning and development function or any other random person thinks is good for the organisation.

This is a great idea and when put into practice can yield great results. The challenge is, the process of actually creating a learning and development strategy can be a long drawn out process which ends up producing a hefty document written in very elaborate language that nobody wants to read.

In one of my jobs as a learning and development officer, my manager who was the head of the team was tasked by the leadership team to produce a learning and development strategy for the company. She went away for about 3 months working hard to create the strategy. Finally when she presented it to the leadership team, they told her to make some amendments. That took another month. She had spent one-third of the business year creating a 12 page document which was glanced at only a couple of times and not used.

This is not right. While we may not be able to  create a perfect learning strategy, what we really want is a plan that can be created quickly, which is not a hefty document, written in easy to understand language and  easy to adapt and update. I call this a lean learning strategy.

I have written a story that outlines one way of creating a learning and development strategy which is aligned to the organisation’s strategic priorities. The story is about a learning and development manager who needs to create a learning and development strategy for his company. The aim of the story is to introduce you to the six strategy questions framework.

In reality the process of creating a learning and development strategy will be much more complex than it is described here, but I hope that in the simplicity of this story, you will learn something about creating a learning and development strategy in a faster and easier way. Over the next couple of weeks I will post parts of the story as blog posts. The story will eventually be published as a mini ebook.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Bola, is this similar to
    Hi Bola, is this similar to the last learning strategy story you posted here, or does it cover different topics?

  2. It is similar to the last one
    It is similar to the last one I just want to post it in full this time. So the first three posts will be wquite similar then afterwards a different.

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Bola Owoade

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

Read more from Bola Owoade

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