How to create a powerful learning strategy

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Are you feeling daunted by the prospect of having to write a strategy for 2019? Well, thanks to leading research into the future of learning there is plenty of fantastic data to support your work and hopefully inject a bit of inspiration.

I love this time of year, and not just because of the festive season!

As soon as the weather turns, the jumpers come out, and people start talking about work Christmas parties. While all this is going on, most of us in L&D are already knuckling down to write and plan fantastic learning strategies for the year ahead.

It can be a really cathartic time, presenting a chance to reflect on the successes and failures of the last 12 months and think about how to make the next 12 even better.

But this year it feels a little different. Many people in the industry are saying that the thought of their 2019 strategy is leaving them with a knot in the pit of their stomach.

This year as an industry we gained more knowledge than ever before about the future of learning... All thanks to game-changing research.

This is partly because they’re going through the same motions they go through every year, trying to come up with strategies to tackle exactly the same problem, whether that’s low learner engagement, a struggle with digital transformation, or even getting line managers on board with new ways of learning.

If this sounds sorely familiar to you, you’re definitely not alone. Towards Maturity’s recent benchmarking report Where we are now? shows that the majority of L&D is standing still, churning out the same goals and objectives year-on-year, but struggling to achieve them.

So, considering all of this, I thought now would be a great time to inject a little inspiration when it comes to planning your 2019 learning strategy. Luckily, 2018 has been a pretty inspiring year, thanks to one key thing: knowledge.

This year as an industry we gained more knowledge than ever before about the future of learning and what L&D needs to do to support businesses in reaching success. All thanks to game-changing research from Towards Maturity, Harvard Business Publishing and the World Economic Forum.

Here’s a few ideas for how you can use this knowledge to inspire your 2019 learning strategies:

Permission to let go

The Transformation Curve, released earlier this year, is a game-changing road map to success for the learning industry. The report is filled with insights, so if you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend you do.

Be inspired by the certainty that it’s okay to let go of what has worked well in the past and try something new.

But, if I could only take one thing on board, it would be permission to take on a counter-intuitive mindset. Be inspired by the certainty that it’s okay to let go of what has worked well in the past and try something new.

Don’t be daunted by digital

Digital transformation is likely to play an important role in many learning strategies for 2019. But don’t be daunted by it.

From my own experiences, engaging your stakeholders in the transformation before you start the journey can save a lot time, and make the process a lot smoother and easier for the drivers of transformation.

This means getting everyone fully on board with digital transformation including your IT department, line managers, heads of department and of course senior management.

Look after yourself

All too often, learning professionals neglect their own development in favour of supporting others.

Make 2019 the year you put yourself first, as all the evidence shows that if you don’t invest in yourself you won’t be able to support your organisation as well as you could.

All too often, learning professionals neglect their own development in favour of supporting others.

Whether that’s investing in your team’s digital skills, so they can embrace learning technology and digital transformation, or putting on a workshop to help develop their marketing skills so they tackle low learning engagement.

It won’t take a lot to make a big difference to the abilities of your team.

Embrace the data

There is so much fantastic data out there that you can utilise to support your learning strategy.

Here are just a few reports from this year that you could use to back up your learning strategy when showing it to the board:

  • World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report 2018: if you’re preparing for change and/or the Fourth Industrial Revolution as part of your 2019 strategy, this report is packed with data on new categories of jobs, shifting skillsets and transformations in how people work.
     
  • Harvard Business Publishing, The 2018 State of Leadership Development: this report is worth reading even if leadership development isn’t on your agenda. It takes a look at how L&D is supporting organisational change and has a strong message that organisations who view L&D as critical to business success are likely to outperform their competitors.
     
  • Towards Maturity, The Transformation Curve : highlights the journey L&D needs to take in order to reach its full potential, and can help you find out where you are in your journey to success. It does this by identifying four stages of maturity which most L&D departments will fit into, and providing clarity on what is needed in order to move forward through the stages.

So, as you go to write your 2019 learning strategy, you might be feeling daunted about the work ahead, but it’s important to remember that now really is an exciting time to be in the learning industry.

We have the knowledge, all we need is a little inspiration and some of creative thinking to turn that knowledge into action. 

About Stephanie Morgan

Stephanie Morgan Bray Leino Learning

Stephanie Morgan FLPI is the Director of Learning Solutions at Bray Leino Learning. Stephanie a skilled public speaker has extensive experience in Learning and Development and is passionate about helping people thrive in an ever changing world!

 One particular passion is helping people progress their careers to board level. Stephanie believes that learning is at the core of becoming a great leader.

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