“Customisable” Stages of L&D (Learning and Development) and Industry best practices for an Org.

Here is our updated version 2.o (based on our previous article version 1.0 can be found below).


Dear fellow readers & experts,

I would like to personally thank and appreciate for your valuable views, comments, feedback and suggestions for my earlier post (ver. 1.0) on “8 stages of Learning and Development (L&D)”.

The vibrant L&D, HR, Talent management, OD, Leadership coaches through LinkedIn community/groups contributed several pointers. Naturally, I had an opportunity to improve and enhance as “ver 2.o” article. I am happy to share this with you all again.

But this time I would like to call this article as  “Customizable” stages of L&D (learning and Development) and industry best practices for an Org. From the technology standpoint to a larger extent the implementation of these stages can be managed to bring in the configuration by software design. The missing things (or) so-called cannot be automated (for sure) needs consulting approach with experts filling the gap.

Although one model does not fit for all org, hope this customizable L&D stages will be used with flexible options combined with experience based real-time best practices shared by L&D practitioners and experts.

Besides, for a solution to human capital, the human element is a must! Having said that the L&D consultant as a strategist naturally to start with a need analysis. Because, “What” part is difficult to arrive then “How” part, I feel.

Further study, research combined with the key pointers/practices suggested became drivers for ver 2.0;

  • Culture It is not just the skills & competencies but culture is a critical part. The culture can be knowledge, belief, morals, law, custom, capabilities, habits, social domain etc. It could even be an agility (from OD or transformation standpoint). In merger & acquisitions culture alignment between both Organisations are always given high priorities by CXOs to make its intent success!
  • Skill matrix is added in the 2nd stage.
  • Emotional Intelligence (or emotional quotient) and Intelligence quotient in the 2nd stage as more scope is added for assessments based on needs. Again it is a very big subject by itself and has the long legacy.
  • 70:20:10 Learning model. The 3Es here are 70% Experiential L&D, 20% Exposure by social L&D and 10% through Education (formal) L&D.
  • Learning Management System seems to be not favored by many for various reasons (need deeper analysis).
  • Overall face to face / blended as structured training programs are suggested in replies to my post as against the e-Learning. Of course one need not debate here as you decide what is best and you know which works for you (based on org requirements, suitability for millennials or job function or given budget etc).
  • Recognition badges based on the credentials as an outcome of online test/quiz etc. It is also essential to link these with the employee’s profile and performance data. Especially in 9 Box grids in performance management when we plot performance Vs potential this linking will help in connecting dots.
  • In Skills2Talent (our cloud software platform for integrated talent management – Hire to ROI) we did a decent job of showing 3 different dimensions in 9 Box grids, such as 1) performance vs potential, 2) objectives Vs behavioral and 3) attrition risk Vs loss of attrition. Of course, it is subjective (by managers) and I could see more improvement scope here in our future cloud software versions.
  • In the next stage, the Leadership Coaching is additionally introduced. In the organization pyramid more is the top the seniority is higher and a simple approach won’t work. Thereby the coaches come into action. For leadership coaching & grooming the consultants typically adopt 1-on-1 approach (i.e., mid to top management). So one pill will not cure all disease. So, the consultant would choose how he/she wants to strategize and implement considering org needs & dynamics.
  • Many responses came to this last stage – ROI (Return on Investments). Is it just a math, oh no. Some expert suggested let’s call this as ROE (return on expectation). At the end of this yearly initiative/exercise we need to use L&D analytics (again what data is the key). Sometimes the number alone can not speak. It is recommended to visualize what needs to be measured at the beginning itself. As the time goes based on the realities a new set of trends and metrics can be introduced. The management typically looks at L&D metrics as (a) effort based or (b) result based or (a+b) both!!!

Once again thank you all for sharing your practical & rich experiences. Thus a broader idea from this framework hopefully be beneficial for all and help to enhance further.

If you have any feedback, suggestions, questions please feel free to post here. I am happy to assist/respond to you. Also can plan for  another updated article ver 3.0

This article was first published in our blog Skills2Talent


Vaidyanathan Ramalingam |  vaidya@usrinfotech.com  |  skills2talent.com


Skills2Talent L&D Stages

What are the stages of L&D?

Going with typical corporate set-up or anSME the following stages are very common in Learning and Development.

  1. Role-based competency mapping: In this first step, the L&D specialist needs to list out the skills and competencies, roles and definition of proficiency levels. Based on these data the mapping to be done to create an Org. level competency framework. Basically, it means mapping each role and required skills/competencies to their required proficiency levels. The proficiency levels can be an entry, basic, specialist, master, an expert. The same can be applied (used) during the recruiting process, job confirmation, promotion time, role or job changes in addition to training and L&D requirements.
  2. Skill Assessments, Learning need analysis: After the competency mapping exercise, the next step is to identify the skill/competencies gaps. There are multiple ways to find the role-based gaps as against the competency framework defined. The skill gaps can be found using simple questions, self-assessments, supervisor assessments, SME (subject matter expert) assessments etc. The outcome of this stage is assigning the development plans based on role(s) of an individual against his/her job function. The consolidated skill gaps (actual Vs target) list becomes the basis for learning need analysis which is the primary input for the L&D budget for a financial year.
  3. SMART development plans: Individual development plans to be  Simple, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-related. It is suggested to have 3 to 5 IDPs with short (1 to 3 months), medium (3 to 6 months) and long-term (>12 months) timelines. Company-specific SMART IDP libraries can help in assigning to help the talents grow in the organization. Thus based on the business dynamics, change in job demands, technologies and competitive landscape one (employee) could always be on top of the skills/competencies.
  4. Self-e-Learning courses in LMS: After the competency mapping, skill gaps and IDPs the next stage is to assign and track the target learning to the workforce. Going with the modern trends the self & continuous learning is getting more popular as against the instructor lead Face to Face (F2F) training programs. With the technology aid, the e-Learning is possible at any time, anywhere and using any internet enabled devices. The successful learning can also end up with a certification process to honor for the qualification.
  5. Structured programs via F2F training delivery training management system: In certain cases, the F2F training is unavoidable as the electronic mode of learning has few drawbacks. When an expert delivers the training along with the e-Learning content via LMS (Learning Management System) gives the best results while combining with seminars/collaborative study/workshops or gamification with an interactive approach. An intuitive training management system (TMS) can automate this process including pre and post-training assessments followed with online test and certification.
  6. Online test and certification: Although the learning effectiveness is not necessary to be only measured by online test and certification, this approach is widely followed in the entry-level workforce. The applying skills happen by various practical scenarios when the trained staff experience or get a chance to showcase the skills/competencies to apply their abilities.
  7. Knowledge sharing: This stage helps in retaining the knowledge & related assets using various process, tools, and methodologies. To spread the knowledge via an electronic platform or workgroup approach helps to exchange ideas, share their lessons learned, best practices, white papers, research thesis or even customer experiences. The best way to promote knowledge is through knowledge champions and encouraging internal networking & collaboration.
  8. ROI: Return on investment is the most critical metrics or the expectation by the management. The most popular 5 level evaluation concept developed by Dr. Jack Philip, ROI Institute, USA is worth reading to get insights.

When you can get all these 8 steps with an integrated talent management platform over the cloud, it becomes easy to manage, has seamless data flow and act by L&D analytics.

If you have any feedback, suggestions, questions please feel free to post here. We are happy to assist you. Also can plan for updated article ver. 2.0

Thus a broader idea from this framework can be beneficial for all and help to enhance further.

This article was first published in our blog Skills2Talent


Vaidyanathan Ramalingam |  vaidya@usrinfotech.com  |  skills2talent.com

4 thoughts on ““Customisable” Stages of L&D (Learning and Development) and Industry best practices for an Org.

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  1. Well thought out! Thanks for sharing. I think knowledge sharing is especially exciting, especially in the era of social media.

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