The average “skills shelf life” is only about five years, according to LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report. Continuous learning and development is the new normal for today’s workforce. As a result, talent development leaders are finding new ways to create and maintain accurate and up-to-date learning resources for their organizations.
The right curriculum strategy is key for managing resources and time effectively. Scaling your curriculum strategy across your department, division, or enterprise will drive increased efficiencies and lower overall cost per learner. Here are some tips to help develop the strategy that can work best for you.
Tip #1: Define the big picture
What specific goal(s) is your curriculum meant to achieve? What markets do you serve, and who is your target audience? Articulating your exact needs defines the focus and boundaries for each curriculum you manage.
Tip #2: Separate learning needs from performance support
Learning needs are the underlying knowledge and skills that enable learners to do their jobs. Performance support is just-in-time access to information, data, processes, and procedures that employees need in the course of the workday. Performance support needs are often fluid and can change rapidly; learning materials are typically updated according to a regular curriculum review cycle. If at all possible, have separate teams supporting these two functions.
Tip #3: Cultivate stakeholder support
Make your business stakeholders champions for your efforts. Build a strong relationship with your business partners by getting to know each other’s strengths, needs, and expectations. Don’t settle for being an order-taker. Demonstrate your value-add by linking your curriculum solutions to the real-world challenges your stakeholders face every day.
Tip #4: Build, borrow, buy or curate
As you identify the gaps needing to be filled, determine whether your best course of action is to build new content, borrow or curate existing materials, or buy an off-the-shelf solution from a third-party provider. Building, borrowing or curating materials may save in hard dollar costs; buying can provide quick access to a wide array of learning materials.
Tip #5: Embrace the informal
Reinforce the effectiveness of your formal curriculum by adding structure to the informal learning activities that happen organically. Coaching Guides can help leaders to have more effective conversations with their direct reports on a variety of topics. Showcases or webinars are a great way to document and share best practices. Peer Mentorship programs, blogs and chatrooms can facilitate communication and build relationships among colleagues across the enterprise.