Learning Maturity Model (Prakash Bebington)

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A model for defining the maturity levels of Corporate Learning & Development functions

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Developed By Prakash Bebington Learning Maturity Model LMM

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“All immature organizations (in contrast to Level 1 organizations) fail to recognize that their management is severely awry. They believe firmly that a technical fix will solve all their problems … No immature organizations sponsor or use the products of research … Immature organizations will not use an approach unless it is tried and tested [and] they will never try and test an approach themselves.” — Prof. Anthony Finkelstein, Capability Im -Maturity Model

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The advent of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and People CMM (PCMM) heralded a new dawn in the mindset of stoic India Inc. The relevance and prestige of support departments— Quality and Human Resources —reached new heights. Quality was no longer a post-mortem back-office activity, but a proactive contributor to external customer satisfaction; the HR manager was no more just a recruiting-and-payroll-processing shadow lurking in the corporate ivory tower, but an enabler of internal customer satisfaction. The best practices of CMM and PCMM organizations can be extrapolated to another vital, but least understood, field— Corporate Learning & Development (L&D) . This Learning Maturity Model (LMM) aims to enable learning organizations systematically graduate in L&D. Inspiration for LMM

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LMM Levels Similar to CMM and PCMM, the LMM has five levels of increasing maturity, and—thereby—management control: (1) Initial (2) Repeatable (3) Defined (4) Managed (5) Optimized

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Description : Processes are usually not documented and change based on the user or event. The L&D organization does not have a stable environment and may not know or understand all of the components that make up the environment. Success in these organizations depends on the institutional knowledge, the competence and heroics of the people in the organization, and the level of effort expended by the team. Products and services of the organization frequently exceed the budget and schedule. The organization often over commits, abandons processes during a crisis, and is unable to repeat past successes. There is very little planning and executive buy-in for projects and process acceptance is limited. Organizations at LMM Level 1 are often seen as a service instead of a partner. LMM Level 1 – Ad-Hoc Efforts

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Solution : To move up from “initial” to “repeatable” maturity level, the L&D organization needs to implement three “repeatable” practices. These practices, and associated (sample) activities, are listed below: Practice 1 - Develop or purchase the learning content (such as, courseware development, job aids development) Practice 2 - Deliver the learning programs as required (such as, classroom training, on-the-job training) Practice 3 - Store the learning content versions (such as, storage & retrieval, information security) LMM Level 1 – Ad-Hoc Efforts

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Description : Some L&D processes are repeatable, possibly with consistent results. The processes may not repeat for all the initiatives in the organization. The organization may use some basic L&D management to track cost and schedule. Process discipline is unlikely to be rigorous, but where it exists it may help to ensure that existing practices are retained during times of stress. When these practices are in place, initiatives are performed and managed according to their documented plans. Project status and the delivery of services are visible to management at defined points (for example, at major milestones and at the completion of major tasks). Basic L&D management processes are established to track cost, schedule, and functionality. The minimum process discipline is in place to repeat earlier successes on projects with similar applications and scope. There is still a significant risk of exceeding cost and time estimates. LMM Level 2 – Basic L&D Management

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Solution : To move up from “repeatable” to “defined” maturity level, the L&D organization needs to implement six “competency-based” practices, in addition to continuing with the “repeatable” practices from the previous level. These practices, and associated (sample) activities, are listed below: Practice 4 - Elicit learning requirements and plan the L&D calendar (such as, appraisal feedbacks, learning strategies) Practice 5 - Standardize the learning process and tailoring guidelines for customization (such as, learning plans, stratified delivery specs) Practice 6 - Define basic metrics and tools to measure learner benefits (such as, KPIs for “learner satisfaction” and “content assimilation”, happy sheets and post-test papers) Practice 7 - Optimize the learning content and systems (such as, content simplification, eLearning adoption) Practice 8 -Establish L&D teams and infrastructure (such as, train-the-trainer programs, list of authorized SMEs/ vendors, classrooms and equipment) Practice 9 - Report basic learning analytics to management (such as, Kirkpatrick’s analytics levels 1 & 2, management decisions) LMM Level 2 – Basic L&D Management

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Description : The L&D organization’s set of standard processes, which are the basis for level 3, are established and subject to some degree of improvement over time. These standard processes are used to establish consistency across the organization. Projects establish their defined processes by applying the organization’s set of standard processes, tailored, if necessary, within similarly standardized guidelines. The L&D management establishes process objectives for the organization’s set of standard processes, and ensures that these objectives are appropriately addressed. LMM Level 3 – L&D Process Standardization

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Solution : To move up from “defined” to “managed” maturity level, the L&D organization needs to implement three “measured and empowered” practices, in addition to continuing with the “repeatable” and “defined” practices from the previous levels. These practices, and associated (sample) activities, are listed below: Practice 10 - Define advanced metrics and tools to measure sponsor benefits (such as, KPIs for “on-the-job implementation” and “business contribution”, appraisal analysis and balance-sheet study) Practice 11 - Report advanced learning analytics to management (such as, Kirkpatrick’s analytics levels 3 & 4, management decisions) Practice 12 - Audit the L&D process implementation (such as, quality assurance process, quality assurance reports) LMM Level 3 – L&D Process Standardization

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Description : Using process metrics, the L&D management can effectively control the process (e.g., for content development). In particular, management can identify ways to adjust and adapt the process to particular projects without measurable losses of quality or deviations from specifications. Organizations at this level set quantitative quality goals for both process and maintenance. Sub-processes are selected that significantly contribute to overall process performance. These selected sub-processes are controlled using statistical and other quantitative techniques. A critical distinction between maturity level 3 and maturity level 4 is the predictability of process performance. At maturity level 4, the performance of processes is controlled using statistical and other quantitative techniques, and may be quantitatively predictable; at maturity level 3, processes are only qualitatively predictable. LMM Level 4 – L&D Process Measurement

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Solution : To move up from “managed” to “optimized” maturity level, the L&D organization needs to implement three “continuously improving” practices, in addition to continuing with the “repeatable”, “defined”, and “managed” practices from the previous levels. These practices, and associated (sample) activities, are listed below: Practice 13 - Improve the L&D benchmarks (such as, internal benchmarking, competitive benchmarking) Practice 14 - Solicit and implement L&D process improvements (such as, learning process improvement proposals, incentive mechanisms) Practice 15 - Solicit and implement L&D technology improvements (such as, learning technology improvement proposals, incentive mechanisms) LMM Level 4 – L&D Process Measurement

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Description : Maturity level 5 focuses on continually improving process performance through both incremental and innovative technological improvements. Quantitative process-improvement objectives for the organization are established, continually revised to reflect changing business objectives, and used as criteria in managing process improvement. The effects of deployed process improvements are measured and evaluated against the quantitative process-improvement objectives. Both the defined processes and the organization’s set of standard processes are targets of measurable improvement activities. LMM Level 5 – L&D Process Improvement

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