There are a number of reasons why an organization should develop a learning strategy in addition to its organizational and people strategies.


Learning and development (L&D) is increasingly coming under pressure as the demands on the business as a whole increase.  L&D starts from a position where existing returns on investment is very low. That's why an organization should develop a learning strategy in addition to its organizational and people strategies:

  • A learning strategy ensures that organizational learning is aligned with organizational strategy;
  • Employees across the whole organization will only be able to significantly improve their performance if they understand where to go to get the learning they need;
  • Learning is a critical enabler in ensuring people to deliver against plans;
  • Learning can allow organizational change to happen faster;
  • Learning can introduce and enable new ways of working and helps smooth the transition during times of change;
  • Speed to learn new skills are a key source of competitive advantage for today’s organizations; 


The AIGEES model:

The AIGEES model suggests that there are six areas that any learning strategy should take into account as follows:

        1.    Alignment – learning with the purpose, goals and objectives of the organization. 
        2.    Integration – learning with policies and processes currently in place in the organization. 
        3.    Governance – how learning is managed within the organization. 
        4.    Efficiency – what processes are in place to manage the cost of learning? 
        5.    Effectiveness – how is the impact of learning measured? 
        6.    Sustainability – how can the momentum of the learning strategy be kept up moving forward? 



Let us look at each of these aspects more closely in turn:

1. Alignment

The most important aspect of any organizational strategy, whether it is a learning strategy, marketing or IT strategy, is that it must be aligned to the organization’s overall strategy, objectives and priorities and with any other strategy that it influences or is influenced by. 


2. Integration

Having made sure that your learning strategy is aligned with other strategies within the organization upon which it is dependent, the next step is to ensure that it can be effectively integrated into the various policies and processes currently in place. A strategy that is not in line with all other activities going on around it is unlikely to succeed.  


3. Governance

The governance of learning relates to the way organizations:

  • Plan their learning
  • Allocate resources to learning
  • Manage learning in line with organizational priorities
  • Governance covers the key areas of learning design, reporting and risk.

Research carried out by IBM and the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) identified some key issues with regard to learning governance:

  •  It is no longer optional. Learning has become too strategic, critical and costly to be managed without an ongoing effort.
  •  There is no ‘one size fits all’ governance structure. The most successful governance structures balance the efficiencies of central control with the effectiveness of local decision-making.
  • Governance models evolve over time in organizations.


4. Efficiency 

This aspect of the AIGEES model is designed to help you to consider the processes you have in place to manage the cost of your learning.
The following fundamental questions should therefore be considered when drawing up your learning and development strategy:

  • What is our budget?

  • What can we do to ensure our learning is meeting budgetary and cost targets?

  •  When we put together a business case for learning, do we focus on both the cost and the quality of the outputs expected?

  •   If we were required to reduce our costs, would this affect the quality of learning provision we could offer?

  •   If so, what would be the likely impact?

  •   How do the best performing organizations ensure their learning and development function meets budgetary and cost targets?

  •   Have we put systems for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the value for money of the learning and development function/activities in place?

  •   Have we applied balanced scorecard methodology to the learning and development function?

5. Effectiveness

As part of your learning strategy, it is important to have evaluation methods in place. It’s a good idea to ask you why. If it is because you don’t think that, as it stands, it won’t deliver what you want it to, then redraft it until you are satisfied that the strategy will produce the required results.


6. Sustainability

Assuming that your learning strategy has good medium term durability, it’s important to consider how you might keep the momentum going and continue to refine and improve the services you provide to the organization.
Actions that you can take to help create a continuous improvement culture for learning include:

  • Communicating regularly – it’s important to communicate to the wider organization what the learning and development function is doing and why. Invite employee feedback and suggestions for changes and improvements to the L&D offering.
  • Finding out what other organizations are doing – build a network that helps you to tap into different approaches, innovations, key suppliers and best practice in learning. Online learning and development forums, meetings and conferences are good places to start. Social networking sites can also be a good place to share knowledge and information with like-minded professionals.
  • Keeping up-to-date – as technology changes and develops; new ways of delivering training start to emerge. It is important to be aware of what technology is available and whether it is relevant to your organization and its (changing) needs.


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