7 Levels of Corporate Training and eLearning Development

learning development

This framework attempts to clarify and harness the realities of developing training solutions in today’s 21st century corporation. One thing I know for sure is that no model, or framework, is EVER one-size fits all. Another thing I know is that you will most likely argue my use of the terms model and framework. Feel free to vote in the comments as to which term is best. I will use framework because it just feels right to me, but I am happy to call it whatever my editor friends feel is most correct. And while this framework is numbered and appears to be linear, the path you choose will be up to you and based on your abilities, and available resources.

And as a side note, this is a work in progress.  I’m open to any and all input.  For starters, I’m not really sold on the term “levels”, but just couldn’t think of anything else that worked.  I’m happy to outsource that to the community as well.

Definition of the 7 Levels

Here is how I currently define the levels:

  1. 1:1 Training – informal learning, prior to the existence of a training team
  2. Organized ILT – Organized face-to-face classroom training
  3. Designed ILT – Designed face-to-face classroom training
  4. ILT + Inline Digital Media – Digital media segments incorporated into the classroom
  5. ILT + Offline Digital Media – Digital media segments delivered as pre-work, or post ILT spaced repetition
  6. ILT Delivered Live Online – face-to-face classroom training delivered online live to dispersed audience
  7. eLearning – Fully self-contained learning experience

Iterate Quickly, Show Progress & Add Value

If you’ve been in this business you can easily see the overlap, and the possibilities of completely skipping levels. You may even find yourself jumping straight to any of these levels as your first AND final solution…never to be iterated again.  That’s okay. The purpose of the levels is to give you a chance to iterate quickly, and to be constantly showing progress while adding value to the business. You are, in fact, building this car while you drive it. And honestly, for me, that’s what makes this process more fun. It’s also more flexible, and allows for quick changes and can adapt to the rapidly changing needs of the business.

Key Underlying Features

One of the key underlying features of this framework, if you start from 1 and proceed from there, is reducing your reliance on the subject matter expert over time without simply walking in and taking their intellectual property from them like a thief. This framework takes into consideration that your SMEs are people too. And they don’t take kindly to L&D people taking their intellectual property and then eliminating them from the training process. I remember in the past thinking that I was doing SMEs a favor by taking the burden of training off their plate. But the reality is that, even if they know they need your help, they enjoy sharing their knowledge with others.

The Promise You Can Make To The Business

The business reality is that the SMEs need to be free to get the work done, and not overwhelmed with requests for training, information, etc. The promise you can make to the business is that while you will initially need the SME in order to provide immediate business value, that participation will decline over time. Your reliance on the SME ends at the point when you, the instructional designer, have gleaned enough from the SMEs content to create more highly designed and sustainable training solutions that can be taught by you, other team members, or fully automated in an eLearning course.

I am working on a matrix for this as well, so stay tuned. And there is a lot more to this framework than I can cover in one blog post, so I welcome your feedback and look forward to continuing this conversation.

*Image courtesy of bhousedesain.com