Blog Posts Process Analysis

BPI Learning Strategy and Materials – Build Phase

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

BPI Learning Strategy and Materials – Build Phase


  • Strategy and training packages and material are developed to fill the shortfall in knowledge, skills and abilities identified in the Competency Needs Assessment. This deliverable assists in the learning of the new behaviours required to implement change successfully in the client organization.
  • The Learning Strategy and Materials facilitate the development of a ‘learning culture’, based on building greater employee resilience in the face of ongoing change. They encourage team-learning and individual commitment to self-development. Heavy emphasis is placed upon just-in-time, local-level learning processes such as coaching, mentoring and on-the-job learning.

Client Value

  • Deliberate decisions are made by management as to the best way to bridge identified competency gaps. These choices assure the client that the subsequent learning processes will be effective, will have integrity in the eyes of employees and will be resourced adequately. The selection of sound learning processes also serve to enhance participants capacity to learn new competencies in the future.   
  • Poorly thought-out decisions regarding how to bridge competency gaps frequently lead to situations in which large amounts of time and money are needlessly wasted, without producing the desired learning outcomes.


The development of the Learning Strategy and Materials involves the management of a series of mini-projects within an over-arching strategy. This structure is particularly prevalent in the case of large-scale change, especially when work-forces have diverse backgrounds, experiences and skills. The following is a high-level view of how a consultant/client team should tackle the translation of identified competency needs into a suite of learning materials.
  1. Develop guiding principles for the learning strategy that are consistent with the organization’s Shared Values and Guiding Principles and fit with the learning-style preferences of employees. Typical principles include action learning, knowledge transfer, personal mastery, recognition of individual differences, team learning, etc.
    1. Group common competencies, and identify patterns of needs across the organization.   
    2. Address those needs that cross most organizational boundaries as the highest priority.
    3. If they relate to conceptual and interpersonal competencies, make the learning materials highly interactive and relate them to current and future business dilemmas.       
    4. If they relate to technical competencies, seek external industry or education-sector expertise to develop the learning materials. This can be done in conjunction with carefully-selected employees who have an interest in training and education
  2. Establish local teams to investigate the best solution to meet the specific learning needs of discrete parts of the organization.    
    1. Sometimes, these may be high-priority needs, such as when they relate to a competency that is critical to the future of the organization, but is only required by a small number of appropriately placed people.   
      1. Offer coaching and advice on an individual basis for those learning needs that are critical to specific individuals alone. (This can often be handled by internal Human Resource, training or management staff.)
  3. Establish and publish clear statements of the relative priority of learning needs, and the time and budget parameters for the development of learning materials. (This relates to the three previous steps above.)   
  4. Request that the individuals or teams responsible for developing learning materials develop a project plan that specifies the following factors:
    1. Learning objectives: the specific competencies that will be developed as a result of a learning process   
    2. Learning design: the structure and processes used to facilitate learning and to develop specific competencies       
    3. Evaluation process: the means by which the degree of learning will be measured.   
  5. Co-ordinate the development of the learning materials, using project review and monitoring processes.   
  6. Develop and finalize programs and materials



  • Guard against learning designs that meet the needs of the designers more than the intended participants. Conduct a survey of learning preferences to ensure that the design will be appropriate.

Tactics/Helpful Hints

  • Do not neglect needs that are critical to organizational success but are, however, not     required in large amounts.
  • Incorporate adult-learning principles into the total development process. This will heighten ownership, ensure relevance and facilitate skills transfer. Indeed, involvement of employees in implementing the Competency Needs Assessment recommendations is a classic strategy to Òkick-start’ the development of a learning organization.
  • To develop evaluation criteria and processes, consider use of the Kirkpatrick model. This framework identifies four distinct levels of learning evaluation.
    • Reaction – measures the degree to which participants appreciated the learning process   
    • Learning – measures the degree to which competencies were acquired
    • Application – measures the degree to which participants applied learning at work   
    • Results – assures the degree to which new learning and behaviour impacts upon     organizational performance   
  • Choose appropriate learning methods. Frequently organizations adopt a training approach to meet learning needs, relying heavily upon courses and workshops. This is costly and time-consuming. In addition, such approaches can be ill-matched to the preferred learning styles of employees. In many instances, on-job learning, coaching, mentoring, small-group discussions and problem-solving / case study-based approaches are better suited to the learning preferences of employees.
  • Be wary of off-the-shelf’ programs. They frequently bear the strong flavour of another industry and lack credibility at a local level.   
  • Recognize, however, that some off-the-shelf’ programs, given some tailoring to suit specific needs, may be the best solution.


  • Use learning-design specialists to provide advice on the best learning methods. Industry training and education providers and specialists in organizational learning can provide a depth of expertise frequently lacking in organizations.    

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