Often, as learning leaders delve into the more practical aspects of the Learning Model Canvas, one question looms: How do we get the resources to make it happen? Any planning and development you put into a learning initiative can come to a screeching halt unless you have the right assets in place to support your vision. The Key Resources section of the Learning Model Canvas helps organize the resources you have (and those you still need) to put a plan in action.
Money, of course, is the Key Resource; few components of a learning model are free. And while I will discuss financial resources in the tip at the end of this blog, I mostly want to talk about the tangible assets that actually go into the day-to-day production of learning experiences. Roughly, they break down into three types: people, tools, and systems.
The Right People for the Job
As I mentioned in the Design blog, different types of learning experiences require different people to design, develop, and implement them. Informal learning will require you to build a flexible team of facilitators and field trainers, while formal training may require more technical developers and project managers. Here are a few categories of people you may need:
- Designers and Developers to create learning experiences through the use of authoring tools
- Community Managers to distribute learning experiences within systems of engagement
- Facilitators to deliver learning experiences in person, or electronically through interactive simulations
- Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs) to contribute knowledge to the development and/or delivery of learning experiences
Deloitte’s Bersin Research Library identifies additional, emerging roles in learning organizations such as Communications Managers and Product Managers. The takeaway is that these roles aren’t rigid or permanent, so building a flexible team can give you an advantage in the long term.
The Right Tools for the Challenge
Even with the best personnel, L&D cannot do everything it wants without employing productivity tools to extend its reach and ease its workflow. Fortunately, in the post-learning evolution world, learning leaders have tools in their arsenal that contribute to learning experiences at every moment of need:
- Authoring Tools to develop synchronous and asynchronous learning content
- Development Tools to code mobile apps, games, and other simulated learning
- Communication Tools to be used pre/mid/post-training as a means of gathering feedback and facilitating rapid iteration
The Right Systems for the Organization
Beyond the tools at the disposal of learning leaders, the organization as a whole needs systems to distribute and facilitate training throughout a workforce. These mechanisms may include existing legacy systems or new infrastructure to support the modern speed of business:
- Learning Management Systems (LMSs/LCMSs) to support formal employee learning
- Engagement Systems built around informal employee learning sources such as social communities, blogs, and chat programs
- Workflow Systems used consistently by employees in the course of their job, which may include customer management programs, or point of sale systems
- Measurement Systems to capture and analyze data through manual operations (such as in-person customer surveys) or automated systems (such as an HRIS)
Connection to the Learning Models
Time is an important resource in itself and, as is the case in many of the other sections of the LMC, it is a substantial factor in determining which Key Resources are needed for a particular learning model. Models with high time pressures such as Performance Support may require a flexible team of community managers working around engagement or workflow systems at the moment of need. The Innovation model, on the other hand, requires much more lead time and labor from facilitators and SMEs using development tools. When gathering Key Resources, don’t just ask which asset is the best value, be sure it is contributing to your desired learning model, as well.
Key Resources are the assets L&D needs to run a successful learning model or initiative, but the development of learning experiences doesn’t happen in a vacuum, particularly in a corporate setting. Next week, I’ll introduce the Key Partners L&D needs in order to build and maintain a learning apparatus. If you have questions about the Key Resources or are ready to get your own LMC off the ground, drop me a line at Saltbox or leave a comment below.
As I mentioned, funding is always a major consideration because it’s fungible into just about any Key Resource you could need. Budgets involve decision makers and sponsors that are not directly connected to day-to-day training concerns, so it’s important to be able to communicate L&D’s function to others. The LMC can help facilitate conversations with these stakeholders by organizing L&D’s needs into concrete business risks, dependencies, and outcomes that resonate at the executive level. Just as an example, here is a statement a learning leader could make to an executive to make a case for L&D’s budget:
“As you can see from the LMC, we are currently distributors of content operating in a Mass Distribution model with cost efficiency as our Value Proposition to the company. The employees (and executives) are asking for learning at the moment of need, which requires a Performance Support model focused on delivery. Would you like me to demonstrate how we can accomplish this and explain what resources we would need?”