Drive Performance. Conserve Resources.

When performance is critical and resources are constrained, where do learning initiatives rank among or
ganizational priorities?

During uncertain times, opportunities persist.  So do challenges.  Competitors continue to seek advantage. Customers continue to demand new approaches for their own customers. Your organization continues to develop strategies and tactics to take advantage of change in the marketplace, or at a minimum, to adapt to it.

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drive-performance-graphValue in Learning Initiatives

Learning is often an essential component of change initiatives, initiatives aimed at reducing cost, growing revenue and mitigating risk.   Purcell Associates helps its clients to achieve these outcomes, and, at the same time to control the cost of performance learning initiatives.

As tools for cost control or for revenue enhancement, learning processes are like other business processes. Your organization can drive performance and conserve resources when the effectiveness of training and the certainty of payback are well understood and well controlled.

On the Investment Side

Investment in learning makes sense when it stacks up well against other investment priorities. In Purcell projects, design intention is framed as financial gain, then balanced with project costs.

Tweaks in project cost projections are explicit.

In learning design, developers start with an analysis of the performance issue.  They answer the question:  what problem are we trying to solve, and why are we trying to solve it?

After analysis, careful developers follow a five-step sequence:

  1. Develop solutions that inspire confidence.
  2. Select the “best fit” to the performance challenge.
  3. Create a solution concept, including key cost drivers.
  4. Develop a projected return for the “best fit” solution.
  5. Optimize investment for the solution.

Prior to commencing a project, investment requirements can be calculated by quantifying a few project dimensions.  The tool for estimation might look like the graph on the right side of this page.

Developers provide examples of each expense level for each dimension.  By comparing examples to their own expectations, customers can see the relationship between the expense level of each dimension and the required investment for the project as a whole.  In effect the customer controls both the project and the investment.

On the Performance Side

Learning is a mechanism for change. At the most basic level, learning changes individual performance.  At a broader level learning changes organizations. Investment is evaluated by comparison with the projected business benefit. Change is built into projects through instructional design and project execution.

Instructional Design

Performance improvement is built into projects by exercising the disciplines of instructional design:  Complete Process Analysis, Meaningful Goals and Metrics, Methods Matched to the Learners and the Environment, Chunked Content, Realistic Practice, for example.

The Role of Execution

Probably more important than design of the learning program, however, is execution.

The execution, or “application,” process is generally a part of the first concept design produced by the consultants.  However, execution is tested only after the learning has been introduced to the field. For that reason, we partner with clients to shape and manage a customized implementation.  Purcell stays with its clients and their projects until performance is institutionalized.

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