As Director of Talent, Learning & OD at Disney, I learned that I wasn’t actually accountable for Learning. I was not charged with embedding, accelerating or transferring learning.

At a time of huge shifts in consumer, technological and wider societal shifts, I was responsible for preparing the workforce to operate in fundamentally different ways, and to operate with enhanced (if not different) skill-sets. I knew then that ‘courses’ wouldn’t cut it and that we needed new ways of influencing the way that people operated at Disney – and feel equipped to do what they were there to do.

These days, most of us will web-search at our moment-of-need as part of our day-to-day. Whether we seek answers, information, insights or know-how, search results will return us articles, blogs or videos that we hope will efficiently help us with the work we are doing, or the work we want to be doing.

But as great as Google, Bing, Yahoo or [add in your alternative search engine of choice] are, they neither deliver results that directly relate to our jobs or the contexts of our companies.

If you actually think about questions you might ask a peer, a colleague, or an internal ‘expert’ at your company. Chances are, your questions will end with (or something like): ‘here’:

This is where purpose-built ‘resources’ can help.

In the context of L&D, ‘resources’ help distinct groups of employees to do the actual work they’re tasked with – in a way that is expected and that benefits the organisation – or prepares them for the work they could be doing at their company. Resources do this by packaging up what internal ‘experts’ know and do in a form that others can easily digest and then perform with greater competence and confidence.

It may seem fanciful or hugely time-consuming to create digital resources that appeal to distinct employee groups rather than e-learning for the masses. But it’s not. Technology today makes this very easy. And this approach (‘Resources-first’) also changes the conversation in the organisation from ‘What training do we need?’ to ‘How can we support our people to deliver the most important priorities for this company?’

What does a resource look like?

Resources could be just like articles, blogs and videos you might discover online, but with your organisation’s context and priorities addressed. Here’s an example…

There are a great many applications for resources. In fact, where you currently offer courses, you could find that resources offer efficient, on-demand support for workers when they face their challenges, and better equip them to be more immediately effective:

Resources can be incredibly powerful tools to equip business people with organisational context, knowledge and know-how. By capitalising on what employees are already doing to support their working, online and in the workflow as challenges arise, your digital transformation in this direction will have fans from Day One, if you get it right. In addition, with the ability to quickly assess ‘needs’ and build resources, initiatives can be run the same day as identified and reach vast, dispersed employee groups almost immediately.

However, ‘resources-first’ doesn’t mean ‘resources-only’ and campaigns should consider a rounded approach to addressing employee ‘concerns’ as well as ‘capability’.


The next post in this series takes a look at how to run a ‘resources-first’ campaign.

David James is Chief Learning Strategist with Looop and a seasoned Talent Management, Learning & OD leader with nearly 20 years of experience in the field. Until recently, David was Director of Talent, Learning & OD for The Walt Disney Company’s EMEA region.

Looop help their clients all over the world to digitally transform their L&D and capitalise on how people really want to learn today with a platform that is renowned for its extraordinary levels of learner engagement.

See also:

Digital L&D pt 1: Beyond e-Learning

Digital L&D pt 3: How To Run A Resources-First Initiative

Digital L&D pt 4: What Happens To Classroom Training With ‘Resources-First’?

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