|HRD professionals should be called upon to ensure that all major
learning projects throughout the organization follow a standardized
instructional development process that employs business case methodology.
The process should address the five major phases of assessment of needs,
design, development, implementation, and evaluation of instruction. Here
are some guidelines in implementing this process.
1. Input is sought from the following sources to determine performance
gaps or opportunities:
- Customers and clients.
- Management, etc.
- Future studies on potential changes in:
- employee roles, responsibilities, work processes, characteristics,
- industry trends; and
- technology that might affect the organization/business or the way
work is done
- Organization climate studies.
- Infrastructure and people/performance management studies.
2. The data gathered are rooted in the performance required for
individual, team, and organizational success both currently and in the
foreseeable future. At the same time HRD professionals help the
organization close current performance gaps, they also support the
development of the competencies needed at all levels to successfully meet
3. The conclusions from the studies are summarized and competency
profile and learning project recommendations developed by a team with
representatives from all key stakeholder groups. The data, conclusions,
and recommendations are presented to the leadership team to be used as
input into organizational and HRD project and budget planning
4. State-of-the-art learning strategies are designed as databases of
options and multiple learning paths to support the competencies defined
for the organization. Instead of a curriculum plan that applies to a large
group of people, learning plans tied to the competencies are customized
using variations of the HRD function's products. This provides flexibility
for the constant, rapid, and often unpredictable changes in organizations'
markets, environments, and stakeholder requirements.
- Many learning resources offered within the curriculum are no longer
offered on a set schedule at a central or regional location.
- Now, more learning is made available at every organizational
location, often electronically, so that it can be accessed when needed
by the learner. This approach is called "point-of- need" or
- Classroom learning will continue to be useful to bring people
together for shared learning experiences. These experiences allow for
the sharing of insights among learners and the networking that is key to
the success of many organizations.
5. Stakeholder partnerships, among managers, learners, HRD
professionals, customers and co-workers, are developed to build transfer
(full application of learning on the job) into the learning process.
Learning that results in performance enhancement is an ongoing process
involving multiple interventions by stakeholders throughout the analysis,
design, delivery, and evaluation stages. These partnerships ensure
- organizational infrastructure and management barriers to the desired
learning and performance change are removed or minimized;
- the learner has the appropriate supervisor support, job, and task
- organizational performance measures and HR systems consequences are
appropriately aligned with the performance desired; and
- information, tools, and coaching needed to support the learner are
available, easy to use, and readily accessible.
6. Learning process design/development methodology is standardized
throughout the organization:
- Learning projects are identified as outcomes of performance
requirements studies and changes in strategic plans, stakeholder value,
- Cost/benefit analysis is consistently used in learning project
- Audience size.
- Expected life/usefulness of the proposed learning process.
- Scope of learning process — the desired performance outcome and
the competency skills and knowledge components to be
- High-level conceptual design of the learning process.
- Design alternatives (see existing materials review and make/buy
descriptions below) and potential migration strategies for incremental
or staged delivery of the learning process.
- All costs associated with the design, development, implementation,
delivery, and maintenance of the learning process for its estimated
- Statement of anticipated benefits:
- anticipated impact of the performance/behavior changes
(identified in scope above) on existing organizational process and
results performance measures; and
- contribution to organizational goals, mission,
- Evaluation plan that will be used to measure the degree to which
planned benefits were achieved and provide information necessary to
improve and maintain the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of the
- Statement of risks that includes:
- risk/cost of not developing and implementing the learning
- risks that might cause an inefficiency or unsuccessful design,
development, or implementation.
- Learning and performance support strategies are selected to maximize
learning and performance enhancement in a minimal amount of
- Problem-based learning.
- Action learning.
- Structured on-the-job training.
- Performance support systems.
- Systems that are available to the learner "just in time" provide
"just the right" amount of content.
- Designs of all learning strategies include the appropriate amount of
each the five conditions for learning:
- Control — The learner has control of the learning process
(the amount of control depends on learner's experience/expertise, and
availability and cost effectiveness of technology and/or
- Collaboration — Learning is enhanced through team/group
interaction and sharing of diverse experiences, views, and
- Context — Rich, relevant, realistic data are provided on
the learning situation, relevant to learners' work situations.
- Challenge — Learners are sufficiently challenged by the
learning and learning situation that they are actively mentally and
- Reflection — Sufficient opportunity and time are provided
to allow the learner to integrate and process the learning experience,
gain insights, and reframe/expand cognitive frameworks.
7. Existing materials reviews are part of all projects. Identification
of existing internal and/or external materials that can support the
learning process design, development, and implementation prevents
duplication of effort; is a source of good ideas and content; and lowers
project costs and cycle times. This step identifies vendor products that
meet the organization's needs and enables a "make/buy" decision based on
the cost/benefit analysis of the alternatives.
8. The vendor review and selection process, if applicable, is managed
by a key stakeholder group (including members of HRD). This team
identifies the selection criteria and the relative importance of each
(e.g., high=3, medium=2, low=1); develops a vendor evaluation matrix; and
makes final selection in compliance with any procurement rules,
regulations and policies. Following selection, one or more products are
tested and evaluated with the target audience to ensure "fit" and
determine adaptation requirements. Selection criteria include:
- Product attributes that indicate the degree to which the vendor
product should contribute to the desired performance outcome and
competency skill and knowledge components to be developed.
- Vendor cost.
- Costs of any adaptation required to maximize organizational or
learning process/performance goal outcomes.
- Vendor's record of reliability in the areas of product quality and
- Ease of use of product and vendor administrative processes.
- Vendor's past projects and results within the organization and a