Transform Your L&D With Digital pt 1: It’s About Performance, Not Learning

November 5, 2019

Written by David James

Transform your L&D


As the business world continues to transform, the use and expectations of technology and digital is only going to increase. Employees today are no longer buying the courses approach. Instead, L&D teams are finding they need to adapt if they’re going to meet the changing demands of the business and its people. 

The Course Mindset vs The Performance Mindset In L&D

Transforming your L&D begins with shifting thinking from ‘learning’ outcomes to ‘optimum working’ outcomes. This ‘performance mindset’ is one that looks at how things are working in relation to how they could (or should) be working for optimum results and then working with internal clients to achieve the desired performance. In contrast, the traditional ‘learning needs analysis’ looks for ‘learning needs’ to deliver ‘learning solutions ’which quite often leads to a ‘course’. This is what Charles Jennings, co-founder of the 70:20:10 Institute, calls the ‘course mindset’. Jennings points out that “the default solution (a course or programme) to address human performance problems is deeply embedded in most HR and learning professionals’ psyches and also our own development experiences.” 

Courses Are The Linchpin Of Traditional L&D 

The course has been the linchpin of traditional L&D since The Industrial Age and in recent years, both e-learning and webinars have brought the classroom to our desks. But businesses need to adopt a more dynamic approach when it comes to supporting performance. Employees are looking for immediate support to real work challenges, either from colleagues or by looking outside the organisation (web search). It is only very recently, with constant connectivity and employees’ access to limitless resources online, that far more effective ways of impacting business performance are being seen. 

The opportunity now is to help people be better at their jobs and improve their prospects with on-demand support and immediate access to created and curated resources that link to the work they are doing and the goals of the company. 

Find out how to get started with a ‘resources-first’ strategy in our free guide.

Replace Courses With Digital Resources

By looking past ‘learning’, refocusing on ‘performance’ and throwing off the shackles of the ‘course mindset’, L&D can focus on activities and outcomes that impact the work itself, embed learning in the workflow and help employees grow in line with the organisation’s strategic goals. This will not be done one class at a time, but by having the potential to influence everybody, every day. 

Agile responses to performance problems and opportunities for growth can impact people today, rather than in several months from now when a programme has been designed, launched and finally attended. By providing digital resources where you would previously have run courses, employees access the appropriate support they need, when they need it. 

So what exactly does a shift from courses to digital resources look like for L&D? According to Nick Shackleton-Jones (who coined the phrase ‘courses to resources’) it means:

  • being user-centered in the way you design things
  • finding out what problems people have, what motivates them, and how you can help
  • taking a fresh look at your capabilities as a learning organisation
  • setting aside conventions, fads and distractions, and worrying less about new ways to force people to memorise things and more about how to help people get stuff done (see more in his LinkedIn post on the subject)

Download your free copy of the ‘Transform your L&D with Digital‘ white paper to learn more!

The next article in this series will share how agile approaches to L&D go hand in hand with using meaningful data to truly understand performance and capability gaps.

Find out how to transform your L&D with digital. Get in touch with one of our L&D experts today.

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