From Toyota’s famed Lean Manufacturing to Eric Ries’ iconic business book The Lean Start-Up, Lean Principles and their undeniable results are everywhere you turn. In today’s fast-paced environment, applying these principles to your company’s approach to Learning and Development has never been more critical. At its core, Lean Learning is about getting the right learning to the right audience at the right time while minimizing waste and maximizing flexibility. If you’re new to Lean Learning, you can start by asking yourself three important foundational questions:
- What do your employees need to know?
- When do they need to know it?
- Which aspects of your L&D are working and which are redundant?
What do your employees need to know?
You need to align your L&D with your organization’s unique business strategy since one of L&D’s main functions is to support the implementation of that strategy. Recent reports suggest that only 40% of companies say that their learning strategy and business goals are in alignment. Is your current L&D program actually supporting your business goals or is that just the assumption? Verifying that alignment is a critical first step.
Once you’re confident that your learning and business goals map on to each other well, you can begin to identify performance gaps and analyze needs so you can link your training to your company’s ROI and begin to give your L&D team the support they need to streamline your L&D products and simplify your L&D processes.
When do they need to know it?
Here, we can apply the just-in-time principle. Educators have long known that a one-and-done marathon course isn’t necessarily the best way to learn. Students are unlikely to retain large volumes of content that are not regularly reinforced or applied in the real world. How can you give your employees doses of micro-learning right when they need it? Or use your company’s performance and L&D data to spot when a particular employee might need some skill reinforcement? An empowered and supported L&D team can look at any production or knowledge gaps you’ve identified as well as your employees’ performance and learning data and proactively design an agile program to give your employees the skill boosts they need when they need them.
What aspects of L&D are working and which are redundant?
Eliminating waste and remaining flexible is at the core of any Lean approach. In the context of Lean Learning, this can look like tracking employee and course component data at both the overarching and granular levels to really drill down on what’s working and what isn’t. You can then use that information to continuously improve your L&D products and processes in real-time so your L&D adapts to curveballs or changes in market conditions as they happen.
As Eric Ries says in The Lean Startup, “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” Having top-notch L&D isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s a must. Need to up your data game to truly embrace Lean Learning? Schedule a meeting with our e-learning experts or take advantage of our webinars. IntelliBoard is Learning Analytics for EVERYONE. We’d love to help you harness the power of your data.