The New Architecture of Learning

Ask any group of leaders how they learned to lead and they will tell you it wasn’t in the classroom – it was on-the-job in trial-by-fire experiences. Yet learning strategies for leaders and for others often still focus – in reality – on courses.

This has built a huge and costly infrastructure that is rapidly out of date. Organisations need a new architecture of learning – less bureaucratic, less costly and more effective. A number of simple improvements can help.

Through a series of Virtual Roundtable discussions with leading employers and experts, we have identified three of the most critical things needed for this new architecture to be in place, that are typically weak in even the best organisations, and that Ci can help create in our role as a research and development partner.

1. Create an experience map for your organisation and put it online so that emerging leaders can record past experiences and plan their future. This shows them a range of powerful learning experiences and competencies these can help develop, mapped to grade/role/potential.

2. Help managers use the map to boost the quality of their conversations about development. Then measure the quality, not just the number of PDP forms completed, for example using a simple conversation feedback tool. Use this data as a catalyst for change, enabling every leader to identify ‘conversation gaps’ and providing hints & tips to help people plan career/development discussions.

3. Support individuals at career transition points, for example helping them assess their Career Agility before taking on a stretch assignment. This diagnostic tool helps them prepare for mission-critical roles, reduce their risk of derailment, get the most from their next role and advance their career. We are piloting the tool during the autumn of 2011 and it will form a core part of our next-generation career tools.

If you’d like to know more, contact us for a discussion, or follow the links above to read about the research and light-touch Ci tools that we’re developing to support real-time development.

Why real-time development?

Research by CCL showed that around 70% of learning takes place through experiences, 20% through key relationships and only 10% on courses. Recent studies in Asia show ratios of 65:30:5, and for women 55:40:5 but the message is the same. Many organisations admit they have neglected relational and on-the-job learning, at some cost.