Learning Transformation Insights

An online EFMD Sharing Best Practice Workshop hosted by METRO on 26 March.

This online workshop was prepared and delivered in partnership with CLIP accredited Metro AG. After an overview of METRO and its House of Learning, provided by Christian Rippl, the participants from across Asia and Europe discussed the following three topical issues of corporate learning:

  • Learning and leading in the new normal
  • Measuring learning outcomes, not activities
  • Managing global learning in decentralised organisations

Discussion Format

Participants discussed in world café style all three topics in consecutive breakout groups facilitated by Christian Rippl, Maren Gerhaeuser-von de Fenn and Zlatka Radeva from Metro, supported by EFMD’s Jan Ginneberge, Steven Smith, Martin Möhrle and Caroline Malvaux. After the completion of three rounds of breakout sessions, the co-created insights and shared examples got summarised.

Learning and leading in the new normal

Regarding ‘learning and leading in the new normal’, participants agreed that the pandemic accelerated the transition from learning as an event toward curated learning journeys. Shorter sessions get combined with asynchronous digital learning, coaching and working on transformational assignments. L&D teams had to experiment with new formats and often had to learn the hard way how to design effective digital learning formats. The importance of gamification was pointed out to raise learner engagement. The digital context also allowed for large live events, with the inclusion of senior leaders. Many digital tools were mentioned, with Teams, Zoom, Mentimeter, and Miro having been the most prominent.

Measuring learning outcomes, not activities

When it comes to ‘measuring learning outcomes, not activities,’ the most cited way to measure leadership development programs’ impact was NPS and learner feedback, pre- and post-tests, 360° feedback or assessments, or debriefs with coaches. Some organisations look at the team or pipeline health of the respective leader and the achieved career acceleration. Others have developed a global mindset index and a manager effectiveness index as part of their employee surveys. When action learning is involved, the project outcomes are further indicators of impact. In the context of programs to develop project management skills, learners should always select and execute a project, the outcomes of which can be evaluated in terms of financial or operational impact, best by a jury.

Managing global learning in decentralised organisations

The discussion of ‘managing global learning in decentralised organisations’ made clear that the business context seems to largely define the degree of centralisation / unification / integration of the L&D business model. Some companies have grown through mergers and acquisitions and, by definition, have multiple legacy cultures, IT systems and processes to integrate. Other organisations push accountability for results down to the local level and accept that not all synergies are leveraged. Some companies have a relatively homogeneous set of businesses, whereas others are more heterogeneous, also in the kind of talent deployed or in the interpretation of the organisation’s purpose. Instead of governing only through policy clarifying who is in charge of what, global L&D governance should engage all stakeholders in an ongoing re-balancing between a central and decentral approach following the many aspects of the L&D business model. Digital learning has more economies of scale than in-person learning (up to a marginal cost of zero), strengthening the call for global IT solutions. LX platforms allow for uploading, accessing and curating internal, external, user and community-generated content to democratise and decentralise learning.

The workshop yielded rich insights into contemporary learning practices and business models.