Effectively Funding Organisational Learning

How do organisations fund their learning?

I have spoken about this in other ways in previous posts, but I thought it was worthwhile raising the subject again both as a means of thinking through it for myself an hopefully to get some thoughts from everyone else about how they do it and what is most effective.

I guess from my thinking there seems to be a couple of models that seem to be the most prevalent in terms of funding L&D functions as follows;

  1. 100% Funded by Organisation –   0% charge to business units,
  2. ?% Funded by Organisation –   ?% charge to business units,
  3. 0% Funded by Organisation –   100% charge to business units.

Each of these structures have their own challenges, but I think by far the biggest challenge for all of them is around equity of delivery of service.  In the 100% funded model, some business units who have high need for the delivery of mandatory or compliance based training are going to take up a large proportion of the delivery hours.  In the 100% charge model there are issues around who has training budgets and the size of those budgets as well as the issue of regulatory need.  The problem of course with a mixed model is what should the mix be and how can it be made to be fair and equitable.

Some parts of the organisation will need low-cost training for a large number of people while other units will require only small numbers to be trained by the costs associated with the training may be much higher, then  when you add the management and procurement of  external specialist training for particular business areas the situation gets increasingly more complex.

I tend to lean towards the 100% funded model, simple because it is easer to manage a ‘cost centre’ delivery unit than one that relies on the business ‘buying’ internal training.  It also makes sense in terms of centralising of procurement and administration which is I think more difficult to fund and manage under a charge to business model.

I would be interested to hear what other people think on the subject.

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Australian Training Awards and the LearnX Awards

So it is that time of year again

submissions have just opened for a number of Training and Learning awards in Australia.  First cab off the rank is the Queensland Training Awards for excellence in VET sector training.  The  awards are a fantastic experience and can lead  onto the Australian Training Awards for the winners of the state rounds.  In addition to this the National Focus Categories  of the Australian Training Awards are also open.

In addition to these the LearnX Foundation in conjunction with their LearnX Learning Innovations Conference have just released their awards categories for 2013 including ‘Learning Manager of the Year’ which was won last year by the wonderful and outstandingly talented Natalie Goldman.

So I would encourage everyone in the training industry in Australia to get involved, look at the categories and see what yo might like to take a swing at.  I think entering these competitions is a good way, if nothing else, of focussing yourself on the successes of the previous year as well as those things you perhaps didn’t go as well, and who knows you might even end up with some recognition.

Executive Education – Is it really all about the name?

I was talking with a couple of fellow L&D folk the other day about programs such as those offered by the Harvard Business School and  the University of Queensland Executive Business School  and what it was that made executive education such a lucrative and high end business and what it was that people actually got from attending one of the prestigious schools of excellence.

After the conversation I was left wondering whether in essence Executive Education is far less about learning things and far more about creating networks and being able to put a prestigious program on your resume.  Now I know that this sounds may sound cynical, but it is not actually meant to be.  We are generally talking here about people with wide experience, already with high level qualifications, for whom learning has, at least in my experience become incrimental, a good idea, piece of knowledge, or a new framework, which extends their mindset and model fo the world, rather than the rapid expansion of knowledge and skills we tend to find with earlier career education.

Given that this is the case it does seem to be the case, it does seem that the networking aspect of these programs is at least as important as the education one.  But what makes certain programs better therefore, is the quality of the participants just as important as the quality of the facilitators?  If this is the case then are what we really paying for the ability to network and ‘work’ with individuals with whom we may not have been able to in any other setting.

I would be interested in other peoples opinions.

Reblog from Flirting w/ Elearning

I really love this graphic from Nicole at Flirting w/ elearning. You should also look at the the Gagne graphic as well, they are both worth thinking about.

Flirting w/ eLearning

Last weekend I posted a new infographic (Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction) and I got some really good feedback about it.  One piece of feedback that I received from several people was to incorporate more graphics/icons into my infographic designs. Of course I think we can all agree that using visuals is only a good thing if it adds value by providing an instructional purpose. This weekend when I decided to make another graphic, I was careful to choose a few icons that I thought were really representative of the elements of PAF. I  created this infographic in Adobe Photoshop.

I’d also like to add a disclaimer that the PAF Methods listed in the infographic for presentation and application are only three examples, but there are a lot more methods available to you. Those are just a few examples!

Instructional Design Infographic

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Informal Learning – Outcomes, Evaluations and Organisational Value

There has been a significant rise in the amount of discussion of Informal learning over the last few years

in no small driven I think by things like the 70:20:10 concept.  As I have spoken about in other posts  while I don’t doubt that people learn informally in the workplace, exactly how effective that learning is and how competent staff are as a result of it worries me.  One of the things that worries me is that we seem to have accepted notions like 70:2010 without having any firm evidence to back them up.  This seems to be the case with most informal learning work as well, we talk about it a lot and it sits well intuitively with everyone but I struggle to find something, some metrics or measurements that are strong enough to be able to convince the rest of the table (particularly the finance people) that there is real organisational value in  informal learning.

One of the issues for me is how do we measure the effectiveness of informal learning, how do we measure how effective it is in producing competence in staff and how do we validate that competence so we as an organisation can point to a staff member and say with some degree of certainty ‘This person is competent’.  The reason this occupies so much of my thinking is the issue of competence.  We need as an organisation to be able,  sometimes under legal proceedings that staff in particular areas were competent to carry out their activities and that they had undertaken sufficient professional development to maintain said competence.

This is difficult to achieve in my opinion with informal learning, without having to add an additional layer of assessment and validation on top of any kind of informal learning activities, which to my mind just make them formal learning anyway.

I would value everyone’s thoughts or ideas.

Another great post by Sukh Pabial. I really enjoy reading his blog and thinking about the issues he raises.

Thinking About Learning

Learning and development is one of those fields that has to justify its existence on a regular basis. It’s not that organisations don’t believe in the need for L&D, they just don’t necessarily believe in needing people who are qualified to do the job actually doing the job. That is, they’d just rather not if it’s all the same. After all, all the person does is to stand there and wang on about how all we have to do is communicate with each other, and anyone can put some e-learning together can’t they.

At the same time though, there are plenty of L&Ders who make careful and thoughtful efforts to ensure the work they do isn’t just important, but the organisation doesn’t doubt the importance of having such a function. When the learning events that take place make a real difference. When the theories and models used in the learning…

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The Structure of Learning and Development

How do you structure a learning and development unit for maximum organisational efficiency, 

seems to be a question with as many answers as there are organisations and organisational structures.  Some argue that it should be part of HR, some that it should stand alone and have its own seat at the big table and a lot just have no idea where it fits.  I am not going to get into that argument to, though a lot of you I suspect already know where I stand.  What interests me more at the moment is the actual structure of the unit itself rather than where it fits in an organisation.

Essentially there are three models for the structure of L&D

  1. Centralised – Where all learning and development activities are managed through a single central unit,k
  2. Decentralise – Where the responsibility for learning is spread across the various departments, units, divisions or regions of the organisation, and
  3. Matrix – Where there is both centralised and decentralised aspects.

So which structure works the best is there one that has a better chance of maximising organisational efficiency in terms of consistency and cost.  I tend to lean towards the Matrix model over the other two because it seems to offer the best opportunity of maximising efficiencies, there is however a caveat that needs to go along with this.  It is clearly the most difficult to both create and maintain.

A centralised approach works well in smaller or single site or single ‘product’ organisations but as organisations grow in size and product diversity the challenge for the centralised approached is to be able to ensure that the various parts of the business are getting the training they require and that a ‘head office gets everything attitude does not develop.

Decentralised structures are often found in conglomerate organisations, with very distinct business units or product lines or regions.  They often occur as a result of mergers or through the development of new business opportunities.  The real issue for decentralised structures is that often economies of scale are not well utilised and consistency of content and delivery becomes more difficult to maintain.

The Matrix model however enables various business units to have a level of autonomy over their training spend and a level of responsiveness which may be lacking in a purely centralised model.  It also allows for great levels of control over organisational wide learning activities and programs as well as being better able to respond to issues around consistency of training content and delivery.

Or maybe I just like it because it is the model we us.

I would be interested to hear what everyone thinks, particularly if some is operating in a model which doesn’t match the three I have mentioned above.

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