Designing and Implementing a Learning Strategy Plan: Determine a Good Approach for Achieving Learning Objectives by Developing a Plan for a Clearly Defined Learning Strategy

Article excerpt

For a while now, instructional designers and learning professionals have been well aware of the importance of writing learning objectives that reflect the learners' needs and represent organizational goals. Several methods are used to capture specific learning objectives that can be measured after implementing a learning or performance improvement solution. However, are you sure that you are following an appropriate learning strategy? A well-defined learning strategy will determine the approach for achieving the learning objectives.

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What is it?

I have created a model for a learning strategy plan, which combines Six Sigma, Malcolm Baldrige, and Andragogy (adult learning) principles. The model consists of a five-phase process that encompasses learning, and includes instructional design models, media, methods, technologies, and learning styles. Your learning strategy plan should align all those components to ensure that they help to achieve the organization's goals.

Guidelines

The five phases of the learning strategy plan are approach, deployment, learning, integration, and results.

Approach. Make sure you understand the organization and audience well. Identify the method to be used to implement the learning strategy. The selected learning and educational methods, principles, theories, and models should be repeatable and based on reliable data and information. This consistency will make your process reliable and systematic.

In this phase you will need to:

* choose what ISD model you want to use

* analyze the audience needs and organizational goals

* verify source availability

* interview subject matter experts

* determine whether you need to design a learning solution to address skills and knowledge, or a performance improvement solution to address attitude and behavior

* identify whether you should incorporate some parallel initiatives such as organizational change management, informal learning, coaching, or mentoring

* identify learning objectives and business objectives

* consolidate your learning strategy plan into one document.

Deployment. Start implementing the learning strategy plan established during the approach phase. The plan will need to refer to the extent to which your approach is applied in addressing the education and learning strategies selected for the project, and how to apply this approach consistently. Deployment is evaluated on the basis of the breadth and depth of implementation of the approach to relevant work units, teams, and departments throughout your organization.

In this phase you will need to:

* develop training material

* define strategic moments for the use of social media and informal learning initiatives

* coordinate the logistics of synchronous webinar or instructor-led training

* implement evaluation tools to measure the learning strategy

* survey your clientele and identify lesson-learned key points.

Learning. Your learning strategy plan should focus on two distinct kinds of learning: organizational and personal. Organizational learning is achieved through research and development, evaluation and improvement cycles, workforce and stakeholder ideas and input, best-practice sharing, and benchmarking.

To be effective, learning needs to be embedded in the way your organization operates. This means that learning is a regular part of daily work; is practiced at personal, work unit, and organizational levels; results in solving problems at their source ("root cause"); is focused on building and sharing knowledge throughout your organization; and is driven by opportunities to effect significant, meaningful change and to innovate.

In this phase, collect the client survey results sent at the end of the deployment phase. The lesson-learned key points will help you to identify gaps in your learning strategy process. …