Corporate learning is becoming more than just employee development.

For years, business leaders have been moving beyond basic training best practices in order to build agile learning organizations that can adapt quickly to changing conditions. It’s a critical business strategy that has helped organizations not only stay competitive but also improve their employees’ experiences.

Because becoming a true learning organization doesn’t happen overnight, it’s useful to understand where you are as an organization in your journey towards achieving a level of organizational learning in which work and learning are inseparably intertwined.

The Four Levels Of Learning Organization Maturity

Bersin Research, an independent HR-focused analyst group at Deloitte, has done extensive research on high-impact learning organizations. And from its analysis of companies that are working to build a culture of learning, Bersin has extracted a maturity model that serves as a guide for all organizations looking to evolve to the next level of organizational learning.

According to Bersin’s High-Impact Learning Organization Maturity Model, businesses can fall into one of four distinct levels as a learning organization:

  • Level 1: Episodic/Programmatic
  • Level 2: Responsive/Contextualized
  • Level 3: Continuous/Empowering
  • Level 4: Anticipatory/Flow

Bersin’s recent research revealed that  94% of companies fall into one of the first three levels, and only 6% of organizations that have achieved full maturity at level four. With this new Learning Organization Maturity Model, corporate leaders can arm themselves with a framework that allows them to assess their current progress and evolve to the next level of organizational learning.

 

Bersin Learning Organization Maturity Model

Source: Bersin – Top Findings From High-Impact Learning Organization Research

Defining The Maturity Levels

Organizations working to build a seamless culture of learning typically start at Level 1 and reach full maturity at Level 4. For older, less agile organizations, maturity may not be an upward, linear path — some organizations will jump up and down between levels for a multitude of reasons. It’s also important to keep in mind that all parts of the organization may not move at the same speed or take the same path towards maturity.

While learning organization maturity levels are not absolute, they do give leaders a strong sense for where their companies are at and what they need to do to move forward. Bersin defines the four levels of maturity as follows:

Level 1: Episodic/Programmatic

Companies at this level seek to simply make work more productive through incidental training that is often tactical or reactive.

Level 2: Responsive/Contextualized

At level two, companies are focused on training excellence, led by a centralized Learning and Development (L&D) team responsible for governance and instructional design.

Level 3: Continuous/Empowering

Companies that mature to level three are characterized by their focus on organizational performance, by making talent development a core competency of management throughout the company, and by measuring key performance indicators.

Level 4: Anticipatory/Flow

At the highest level of maturity, a learning organization is characterized by business executives and employees throughout the organization aligned around continuous learning (both formal and informal), aided by the adoption of strategic tools for L&D and an agile corporate structure.

For a more detailed explanation of Bersin’s High-Impact Learning Organization Maturity Model and the four levels, download their full report here.

Start Working Towards Building a Culture of Learning Today

While organizational shifts towards becoming a learning organization can take a long time to plan and execute, the tools that support a foundational shift towards a culture of learning can be switched on almost immediately.

A learning management system can be a big help in managing your learning content, but it’s important to consider what kind of content you’ll be keeping there, what kinds of learning materials your employees prefer, and how you’ll go about creating those resources.

Modern LMS tools tend to serve basic content like text and presentation slides well enough, but most struggle to support the technical needs of video production, storage, and streaming. A video platform, then, can be an invaluable tool that allows for easy video content creation as well as content sharing and discovery.

Read more about how your organization can start using video to build a learning organization from the ground up.

Published: July 13, 2017