The Seven Key Elements for Learning Solutions

Effective learning and development programs integrate 7 Key Elements. Because every organization is unique and must capitalize on its special attributes to distinguish itself from competitors, Lowther7 starts with your organization's vision and strategic business plans. We help you assess the performance of your education content and delivery system in terms of the organization's long-range plan. We assist in the appropriate design and development of your organizations unique educational content to advance your organization'€™s agenda. We help select and model your marketing and promotion to effectively reach your niche audiences. We assist in selecting and implementing the most effective delivery methods. We help create evaluation tools to guide you in continuously improving your program.

The following 7 Keys provide the foundation of a quality education program. The depth of detail and focus vary from organization to organization, and the overall success of a program relies on the degree to which each element is implemented to serve the specific organization. The keys are interdependent and should be viewed holistically. Any time an element is skipped or shortchanged, potential success is undermined. (Firm Self-Assessment Introduction)

KEY ONE: Strategy

KEY ONE: Strategy - Work to gain a commitment at all levels of the organization. Building a successful program needs senior level support. It needs senior management'€™s involvement in creating and sustaining the organization'€™s educational direction, performance, and focus. Include the development of a strategic process that ties education into the overall business plan of the organization.

"Assuming that education is part of your association'€™s mission then the first key to building a quality education program is to gain commitment and support internally, starting at the top." (Read more...)

"Regardless of the size of the A/E/C firm, an education program will not work effectively or efficiently if it is just an afterthought or an add-on program. Only by involvement of a firm partner or firm principal participating at the highest decision making level will education play an appropriate key role in the overall business operations of the firm." (Firm Self-Assessment Key 1) (Read more...)

"Every award winning product manufacturer or service provider, such as CertainTeed, Pella Windows, Ron Blank Associates, and Whirlpool - that incorporates continuing education into their marketing plan has support at the highest decision making levels of their business." (Read more...)

KEY TWO: Needs Assessment and Analysis

KEY TWO: Needs Assessment and Analysis - Successful programs require a system for identifying and analyzing educational needs that relate to the organization's overall strategic plan. If the program is intended for internal organizational use, then it is important to assess learners' long-term educational and professional development needs. If the program is intended for external use, you had better know your market if you want to be competitive.
(Firm Self-Assessment Key 2)

KEY THREE: Planning and Performance Projection

KEY THREE: Planning and Performance Projection - Based upon your needs assessments and analysis, develop measurable short and long-term educational goals, with performance projections of key education results, that tie into the overall business strategy. If you have not already done so be sure to develop a realistic budget to support your project.
(Firm Self-Assessment Key 3)

KEY FOUR: Content and Design

KEY FOUR: Content and Design - Short-term, develop a system that will collect appropriate subject matter content that addresses staff knowledge needs to support the organization'€™s projects. Long-term, consider a structured curriculum that supports the organization'€™s strategic plan and business needs. There are various formats and delivery models from which to choose - be sure that the content is appropriate for the format. Develop clear course learning objectives early as they will guide you in selecting the appropriate subject matter expert (SME), the best course content, appropriate design, and the most effective delivery method. This is a critical point to insure that content matches any special requirement such as license or certification standards, such as CEU, PDH, CPD, MCE'€™s, HSW, LEED, ISO, ANSI, etc..
(Firm Self-Assessment Key 4)

KEY FIVE: Marketing and Promotion

KEY FIVE: Marketing and Promotion - Are required, and they require action. If the program is intended for internal use, then be sure that your marketing plan relates to the needs assessment of your staff and clients. If the program is intended for external use, then be sure that it fits within your strategic plan for educating target audiences. Associations are particularly vulnerable to the assumption that brand name is enough to draw an audience. You may have the world'€™s best subject matter expert (SME), or designed an interesting course, offered the course using an innovative delivery format, and even priced the course right, but if your audience is not drawn to the course – it will fail. Those who rely on the reputation and marketing of their organization will fail in their education efforts. You must adequately promote and advertise each of your courses and education products. Budget accordingly.
(Firm Self-Assessment Key 5)

KEY SIX: Implementation and Delivery

KEY SIX: Implementation and Delivery - Follow your implementation and delivery action plan. Be patient and give it time. Individual courses can often be created and delivered in a short time frame if there is an established system in place. However, for an organizational-level program, think in terms of a process that may take 2- 3 years to see real results. Your needs assessment and analysis (Key 3) and planning and performance projection (Key 4), will provide you with direction and a path. At the course level, keep a close eye on the competition and your profession or trade. The entire world of continuing education and professional education has changed in the past several years. Don't be afraid to try the new and the different. Stay as current of technology as your budget will reasonably allow. Be prepared for continual change and adjust accordingly. Plan for it!
(Firm Self-Assessment Key 6)

KEY SEVEN: Evaluation and Improvement

KEY SEVEN: Evaluation and Improvement - All successful programs include an evaluation and feedback process. Set up a system that will evaluate each course, service or product against (Key 3) measurable short and long-term educational goals using performance projections. Most of all don'€™t let this valuable information collect dust. Use it to continually improve your program, build your reputation as a quality organization, and become more profitable.
(Firm Self-Assessment Key 7)

Need help in any of these areas? Let a Lowther7 project team help you transform your vision of into reality. We provide full service combining technical and subject matter experts who match your needs.

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Lowther7 is a Veteran owned business