Research & Development in L&D?
Needed or not?
What might help us/you/me fend off the marketing wolves in the L&D Space – about their promises regarding technology, processes and philosophies?
Or is there nothing to be worried about – no risks about potential investments’ rewards – and you all can sleep soundly tonight?
Hey – Is your new push on addressing Learning Styles of the Individual – dubbed: “iLearningStyle” – going to really pay off or what!?!
What’s to worry?
Why do R&D?
Just do it – produce good learning and performance support – and knock down anything that gets in the way of the “cookin’ crankin’ and wailin'” necessary to PRODUCE!
Hmm. But first – as an Advanced Organizer – the
Rockin Around the Clock
The T&D Systems View Clockface that is….
This “Area of Performance” or Sub-System in the T&D or L&D or Knowledge Management system – is just one of many.
This model evolved from client work in the 1980s – and is the focus of my book…
2001 book: T&D Systems View
Where no Process – such as ADDIE or SAM – is an island.
From the Book … chapter 26 …
11 O’clock: T&D Research and Development System
-11.1: T&D Methodology and Technology Surveillance Process T&D Processes
- 11.2: T&D Internal and External Benchmarking Processes
- 11.3: T&D Methodology and Technology Pilot-Testing Processes
Without a constant eye on the future, T&D will fail to keep pace with the changing dimensions of the profession and the opportunities that new technology and methods present.
These are the processes that look into the future and keep the T&D organization on the cutting edge. They also serve as the “testing” processes that ensure T&D is delivering on its promise of improved performance and a high return on investment.
The T&D Research and Development System organizes all deliberate/planned T&D research and development efforts; conducts internal and external benchmarking; and conducts pilot tests of new processes, products, tools, and techniques for potential incorporation into the standard T&D methods and processes throughout the T&D system.
The research and development processes and outcomes are documented, stored, and made accessible in a format(s) best usable for all anticipated needs and for increased ease of future access to enable more efficient search efforts by users.
The results of these research and development efforts should drive continuous improvement in the overall T&D system. The T&D systems of the future must be in a position to respond efficiently and quickly to an organized and demanding customer— the members of the T&D Governance and Advisory System and all other users of T&D’s products and services.
Research is needed into both ISD (design/development) processes and deployment processes and technology. Research and reviews need to be conducted of the constant flow of new T&D products and services from external sources. Literature searches should be continuously conducted, and appropriate content should be forwarded to interested parties.
Research and development provides insights into how to increase T&D’s return on the enterprise’s bottom line, through adoption or adaptation of new business-based ISD processes and technology, and other changes and improvements to reduce costs. This is always done with no deterioration in performance capability, as proven in the development testing prior to any general rollout.
Internal development and deployment of new or improved ISD and deployment processes and systems is required to enable the T&D organization to position itself as the rightful, preferred vendor of all things T&D, for all units of the overall enterprise.
T&D Process 11.1: T&D Methodology and Technology Surveillance Process
The T&D Methodology and Technology Surveillance Process keeps track of what is going on in the worlds of ISD technology and ISD methodology, as well as with all other elements of the T&D system, such as information technology/information system capabilities for development and deployment of T&D.
T&D organizations should be conducting targeted, by design and not random, research into the leading-edge ISD processes, tools and techniques, and T&D products of various content and nature. They should then compare both new and old T&D systems, techniques, tools, and “what results achieved at what costs analyses,” for potential consumption by all of the various T&D systems and processes on the T&D Systems View clockface
T&D should be focused on the evolving methods and technology of ISD processes and on ISD products and their deployment.
Process technology might include what is already available in the ISD marketplace, such as analysis tools, design tools, development tools, evaluation tools, and project management tools. Are they compatible or “integrateable” into the current systems and tools?
T&D product technology might include development and deployment systems or the marketing world’s “distribution system.” These systems and processes develop and deploy T&D via various media and methods, such as books, videotapes or audiotapes, wall charts, classroom sessions, auditorium sessions, computer access Web sites and computer-based learning programs, and satellite-downloaded two-way video and audio systems. The technology is rapidly evolving.
Computer-delivered content is becoming less expensive to generate and deploy. If targeted at the right content and intermixed with other learning strategies, it can be the backbone of the organization’s human resource development/knowledge management/enterprise requirements planning (ERP) HR module systems.
If T&D and its customers are skilled at tapping into the Internet, the intranet of the enterprise, and/or the use of other storage devices, then the amount and timing of content can be in much better control.
Technology and methodology currently available from outside can be easily ascertained by attendance at any one of several T&D-oriented conferences and expos. Understanding some of the newer delivery methods nowadays requires a basic knowledge of information technology.
After the data-gathering portion of your benchmarking of the available T&D technology, methodology, tools, and techniques, you can use the framework provided by the T&D Systems View clockface to help you better see fit and function issues as you determine the total life-cycle costs for any major or minor T&D system change.
Don’t make a change in technology and methodology based simply on first costs. Understand the total life-cycle costs for any purchase before making any commitments. What are the technology and methodology installation costs, if any? What are the annual technology and methodology operations, maintenance, or repair costs?
You must determine where new technology and methodology may better enable, today and in the future, and at what costs. And how does the new technology and methodology square with how work will be conducted in the near- and medium-term future?
The ever-evolving world of information technology will allow us to more easily (but not without some additional effort) capture and report data related to our function and impact within the enterprise. That same information technology evolution is changing how T&D is used by the customers (the T&D user). Other stakeholders, such as the target audience’s management and owners, should have easier access to data about the T&D investment and should know exactly what the returns are.
Current and leading-edge ISD technology and methodology data can be gathered from a variety of sources, including the use of benchmarking processes. Training journals and books provide a wealth of information and methods from external sources. Internal T&D organizations can share their methods and results.
Internal data needs to be gathered, such as target audience demographic data, that identifies many factors about the targets of the T&D investment, such as their current use of desktop computers, laptops, or palmtops, and helps the T&D system understand current systems. Insights such as these may help determine which T&D distribution channels might be used to better reach their customers.
Additional research into those particular deployment technologies, in terms of their future, costs, user-friendliness, ease of learning, ease of usage, and costs typical for content development, need to be understood and considered in any large-scale system.
Process Outputs and Their “Utilities”
The key outputs from the T&D Methodology and Technology Surveillance Process include the following:
|Key T&D methodology and technology trends and emerging capabilities
||Will provide input to the next process where some will be explored further to assess their capability, feasibility, and desirability.
Is It Broken? Clues and Cues
Your T&D Methodology and Technology Surveillance Process may be broken if
- You are not constantly, systematically surveying the marketplace for what’s new.
- Customers or other leaders in the enterprise are asking you about methodology or technology that you are unaware of.
In summary, the T&D Methodology and Technology Surveillance Process of the T&D system keeps abreast of what’s going on in the wide world of T&D. It also provides input to the next two processes that will focus on new things as well as improvement efforts for all existing components in the T&D system.
Next, we’ll view the T&D Internal and External Benchmarking Processes.
T&D Process 11.2: T&D Internal and External Benchmarking Process
The T&D Internal and External Benchmarking Processes compare all of the internal T&D organization’s processes to a series of benchmarks, comparing internal operations against each other as well as to external organizations in both similar and dissimilar situations.
The T&D Internal and External Benchmarking Processes look both internally and externally at T&D systems and processes, as well as at non-T&D systems and processes, for insights into what might help to improve the cost, schedule, and/or quality performance of the T&D system. Benchmarking could focus on such processes as T&D development, authoring processes, order fulfillment, governance, etc.
The T&D Systems View and its 47 processes provide a map for determining where to start these time-consuming and potentially costly efforts. We believe in targeted approaches
Process Outputs and Their “Utilities”
The key outputs from the T&D Internal and External Benchmarking Processes include the following:
||Provide insights into how things are done elsewhere (internal or external to the enterprise).
Is It Broken? Clues and Cues
Your T&D Internal and External Benchmarking Processes may be broken if
- You reinvent systems, processes, or products that already exist.
- You start development or improvement efforts with only the old model and a blank sheet in front of you, instead of with several new models borrowed from elsewhere.
In summary, the T&D Internal and External Benchmarking Processes of the T&D system help with continuous improvement efforts of both ISD and other T&D processes (e.g., registration systems) and products (e.g., LCD projectors) used by internal and external T&D organizations.
Next, we’ll view the T&D Methodology and Technology Pilot-Testing Processes.
T&D Process 11.3: T&D Methodology and Technology Pilot-Testing Process
The T&D Methodology and Technology Pilot-Testing Processes bring in the newfangled stuff found in the other two research and development processes of the T&D system to deliberately play with it and test it.
The T&D Methodology and Technology Pilot-Testing Processes use structured, rational approaches for the formal “trying out” and testing methods, technologies, equipment, and tools.
Pilot tests are conducted in a precise, controlled manner to evaluate the process or product with the technology and/or methodology being tested for many “abilities” such as
The T&D Methodology and Technology Pilot-Testing Processes help avoid potentially costly implementations for things that will not really work on the larger scale needed or will have other issues requiring more of an investment, throwing off the original return on investment and economic value add forecasts.
T&D methods and technologies implemented too quickly often bring disasters. Haste makes waste is learned all over again. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
Yes, today life is operating at Internet speed, but going too fast does not always get you to exactly where you need to be. It just gets you someplace faster.
Process Outputs and Their “Utilities”
The key outputs from the T&D Methodology and Technology Pilot-Testing Processes include the following:
|Test results for T&D system methods, technologies, equipment, and tools
||Help avoid implementation of items that will not really work as needed or desired.
Is It Broken? Clues and Cues
Your T&D Methodology and Technology Pilot-Testing Processes may be broken if
- Things get implemented without testing, resulting in scheduling and cost issues and reduced ROI.
- You never pilot test new methods, techniques, tools, etc.
- Too many things have been implemented in the past that just haven’t worked out as well as first thought.
In summary, the T&D Methodology and Technology Pilot-Testing Processes test, prior to deployment, various promising methods and/or technologies to better learn what a successful, efficient deployment will require and to assure that return on investment and economic value add projections are based on realistic, total costs and revenues. As a result, the deployment can be better planned and followed during the implementation.
Alpha and Omega’s T&D Research and Development Systems
At Alpha, there is a systematic research and review process employed to stay abreast of all evolutions and revolutions in T&D concepts, methods, and technologies.
Potential solutions for specific needs are proactively sought out per the annual plan.
Those thought most promising are tested after careful benchmarking with others, and then brought into the systems when deemed appropriate.
At Omega, attendees of conferences and reviewers of trade publications are forever bringing to management’s attention new things helpful to T&D efforts.
11 O’clock System Summary
The T&D Research and Development System is intended to keep the T&D suppliers and customers reasonably informed about status, available data or results, and feasibility of changes in the T&D marketplace regarding processes, methods, tools, and techniques.
Next, we’ll review more from Alpha and Omega regarding all of their T&D Support Systems and Processes.
For That You’ll Need To Get the Book
It’s free – as a PDF – and it is also available as a $20 paperback.
For those options – please go here.
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