Rainbow of Ribbons (Fleur/flickr.com)

12 questions that learning strategy seeks to answer

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

Learning is the acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies (behaviors) through experience and study. We all want to learn, so why is it so difficult to stop work to make time for learning, despite our best intentions? In exploring possible solutions to this question, learning strategy emerges from the existing practices and strengths of the organization – together with a diagnosis of where it needs to improve knowledge performance. Learning strategy examines how knowledge and learning can be improved, starting with mundane, routine or recurring questions and frustrations of daily work life, such as: What can I do when I have too much e-mail? How often should we meet as a team? How can I experiment and innovate when I have so many urgent tasks to deliver? The strategy also answers questions about how we work together as a team and with people outside the organization (partners, beneficiaries, customers…): How can I best …

Young man at a vocational education and training center, Marrakesh, Morocco. © Dana Smillie / World Bank

Making humanitarians

Reda Sadki Learning strategy, Thinking aloud

The industry to tackle growing humanitarian and development challenges has expanded rapidly since the mid 1990s, but not nearly as fast as the scope and scale of the problems have spiraled. Professionalization was therefore correctly identified as a major challenge of its own, with over a decade of research led by Catherine Russ and others clearing the rubble to allow the sector to make sense of what needs to be done. The bottom line diagnosis is a now-familiar litany: a shortage of people and skills, lack of quality standards, inability to scale. Despite the growth of traditional university programs to credential specialized knowledge of these challenges and how to tackle them, young people armed with multiple masters find that they really start learning upon entering their first NGO. They face a dearth of entry-level positions (sometimes spending years as “interns” or other forms of under-recognized labor) and discover professional networks closed to them …