Who knew? Who knew that it could get this complicated? As I hammer out where I want our company to head from a learning perspective, I ask myself more questions than I answer; I reveal more options than I can choose; I find more opportunity than I can take. As frustrating as it is, I find solace in this quote from Winston Churchill:
So, I push forward. I’ve identified some key tactics, including establishing an executive learning board, starting a certified instructor program, and launching a “Learn Everyday” campaign, but realize implementing these actually means sacrificing growth in other areas – areas that I felt were a high priority at one time.
I think the three initiatives on which I’m focusing are critical for the foundation of a healthy learning environment. The executive learning board will help provide direction and ensure inclusivity of the entire company, the certified instructor program will create a framework, level of expectation, and human resource, and the Learn Everyday campaign will help with the shift in mindset of what learning can mean to our employees.
What will suffer as a result, at least in the short term, is the quality of our online offering – something I had really hoped to address this year. Last year, because of the acquisition and new LMS, I elected to maintain the status quo, that is, continue to use online courses that have little if any learning value. Many are “box checkers,” that is, courses that enable us to say, “Yes, our employees have been trained in that.” My issue with the courses is that they are not well designed. They are what many outside of the learning industry think of when they hear “online learning.” They are by and large read-and-clicks. Knowing how effective eLearning can be, they drive me nuts. If money were no object, I’d hire it out or at least find some off-the-shelf replacements. But, painful though it may be, this is not where I need to spend our precious resources this year. I need to finish laying the foundation of what was started last year.
The other area that will suffer – again, in the short term – is our ILT offering. We have a real need for supervisory classes. In Q4 of 2014, we offered a one supervisor class every month. We had already decided on a hiatus for January and February, but until I have a team of instructors who can deliver courses across the company, I will need to reduce my anticipated offerings for my supervisors. Again, could I hire it out? Yes, but particularly while the company is in growth mode, our department is running lean.
It’s difficult to paint a clear picture of where we will be in three years from now, but I believe using last year and this year to create a sound foundation will enable us to have a stronger, but malleable program in years to come.