I’ve talked on this site many times about SMEs—the subject matter experts that L&D teams often rely on for content. I’ve also discussed how SMEs, due to their topical expertise, frequently are absorbed by L&D departments, becoming key players or team members. These folks provide rich wells of content that benefit learners, so the progression from SME to L&D makes sense. While this integration may be a good fit, it’s wise to follow best practices and heed a few truisms as you integrate SMEs into L&D roles. [Read more…]
L&D leaders and their teams have been on a roller-coaster ride since (at least) 2008 and the Great Recession. When the economy pulls back, training and development are often the first casualties. L&D budgets and staff get cut when short-sighted companies believe learning to be a luxury.
However, just like a roller coaster, once an economy experiences a steep dive there’s a slower, creaking rise to the next peak. The employment outlook is cresting that next peak. As of January 2019, the U.S. unemployment rate stands at 4.0 percent. In fact, unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 30 years. A tight labor market is good news for workers, but it can complicate day-to-day operations for employers. During a tight labor market, employers recall the true value of the learning and development function. There are four major reasons why a tight labor market gives L&D team a chance to showcase their business value. [Read more…]
What do I measure? For even the most experienced learning professionals, this question is the sticking point. It’s where most L&D professionals struggle when they try to create measurable learning. This question has been and remains a source of confusion for so many in our profession. [Read more…]
I’ve talked in the past about how soft skills are the hard skills.
I’ve also discussed why soft skills are no more difficult to measure than hard skills.
Today, I’m going to approach this topic from a slightly new angle. [Read more…]
It surprises me daily how much confusion still surrounds how to measure learning ROI. It will never stop astounding me and will never stop motivating me. [Read more…]
Improvement. For learning professionals, that’s our goal, both for ourselves and for the employees in our learning programs. We’re always on the hunt for effective and efficient ways to deliver that improvement. That was one motivation behind our development of Business Impact 2.0, a first-of-its-kind cloud-based software that is purpose built to link instructional design with business outcomes. Impact 2.0 allows you to design, measure, and report on learning program results for data-driven performance improvement. [Read more…]
Most learning professionals have heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy (BT), the set of three hierarchical models that classify learning objectives into levels of difficulty. The first volume of the taxonomy was published in 1956. Since that time, the three domains addressed in BT (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor) have been used in both traditional education and training for business. But what role does BT play in creating measurable learning? [Read more…]
“Expert skill or knowledge in a particular field.” That’s the definition of expertise.
Many learning and development (L&D) practitioners landed in this profession because of their expertise. Companies often conscript people gifted in a certain area to become teachers and trainers of others. That mainly happens because learning programs are tied to a particular subject. A need arises and companies look for the subject matter expert (SME) who knows the material to teach others. It’s a natural and even logical reaction. It happens all the time in organizations. Learning departments often start by building around a group of SMEs.
As I’ve said before, there is nothing wrong with SMEs transitioning to the L&D role. Many of today’s L&D pros took this path into the learning profession. I don’t question your expertise in the subject area that you teach. That’s an important skill to have, and obviously something your organization values or you wouldn’t have been invited to lead learning programs.
However, if you’re going to own your expertise in the L&D field, you must extend beyond your subject area. You must match your subject matter expertise to instructional design (ID) expertise. Build your L&D expertise as you link your SME knowledge and ID skills. [Read more…]
Play office politics. Use (other people’s) data. Stroke egos. Cater to pet projects.
This was the advice that I read recently in an article aimed at learning professionals trying to secure their annual budget. There were a couple helpful nuggets in the article, but it mostly focused on the political side of the budget process.
Yes, I know in corporations, sometimes office politics overrides good sense. Even so, there are much better ways to secure your L&D budget. Most include using solid data (from your own programs) and linking your programs directly to business objectives.
So why does this topic about securing budgets come up every year? One reason: learning professionals still don’t know how to measure their programs or quantify their value. [Read more…]
Recently, I was a guest on The CLO Show. That’s a podcast produced by Riptide Software and led by moderator Patrick Hodgdon. Of course, we talked about one of my favorite topics: moving past the survey and learning how to measure by design. You can listen to that podcast here.
Following A Familiar Path To L&D
During the podcast we talked about something I’ve never discussed on my blog, which is how I entered the learning and development (L&D) profession. Like so many of us in this field, I got in through a backdoor. My undergraduate work was in marketing and I held a marketing position where I worked. Over time, I came to know their product so well that I was ultimately asked to train others about it.
This path is familiar to many current L&D professionals. You gain expertise in a product or service. To business leaders, that expertise seems like the perfect fit to lead training on the subject. This is a common L&D career path. [Read more…]