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 learn from and with those we serve?
- What is the best way to stay connected with co-workers who are halfway around the world?
- How should we onboard new staff?
- How can we support each other to do better as we work?
Learning strategy also guides the organization in developing context-specific, best practice and evidence-based answers to questions such as:
- How do we detect patterns and trends that matter for our work?
- How do we make decisions in the face of information overload or, on the contrary, when we are faced with uncertainty?
- How do we get the “eureka” moments when trying to solve difficult problems?
- Why are our information systems (sometimes) difficult to use – and its specific case: why do we hate our LMS?
- How can I identify and adopt technology that can make it easier to communicate, share and learning with my colleagues?
Last but not least, learning strategy outlines what we may expect or ask from our managers and leaders, who have a key role in encouraging and developing people as well as in advocating for broader organizational change that recognizes the value and significance of learning as a key driver of the organization’s performance.
Photo: Rainbow of Ribbons (Fleur/flickr.com)