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Workplace Learning

for professional service companies

© Copyright KNA, 2010. All rights reserved.

This presentation contains proprietary information, which is protected by copyright.
Do you recognize this scenario ?
The best skills in the company
are only attributes of a few OVERAL:
seniors Value delivered
to customers is
Differences between variable
employees' performances
negatively impact
business output

Some people in the company make insufficient progress

Employees that make progress do not share their experience

This scenario should be about your business

The best skills are attributes of

almost all employees
delivered to
Differences in individual customers is
performances are due to steady
employee personalities,
not to qualification flaws

Employees make continuous progress

Employees share the experience of personal achievements

Knowledge is necessary, but not enough
Usually, companies help employees gather the necessary
knowledge to solve generic problems.
And then, they expect that
those employees have the ability to solve real problems.
Usually this works badly.

When an employee has a skill deficit, managers give her

some training. But after the training she is not ready to
better solve tasks, because she didn't learn how to apply
knowledge in particular situations. What she would need
now is support for coping with new tasks.
something new
Open Improvement Project
What is Open Improvement Project?

OIP is a framework that uses learning by solving job

problems (focused learning) within a knowledge
sharing culture.

When an employee has a deficit of knowledge or skill, or her

attitude towards goals prevents her from being successful,
managers ask her to solve a job problem that requires the use of
what she needs to learn.
Then, they assign her a learning facilitator, and give her access to
learning resources and resource people. The employee is asked to
develop a systematic learning project in a definite time-frame.
Open Improvement Project has two versions:

One that starts from the analysis

of customer requirements - “The
hard way”

One that starts from the employee competency

assessment by supervisors - “The soft way”
OIP Implementation Process
OIP Implementation Process
Working on task is the best way to acquire competency.
However, this type of learning usually requires years of
experience and just a few employees can carry it out with
total success.

That is why learners need support: learning facilitators as guides, and

resource persons as technical experts for certain skills

Open Improvement Project relies on employee collaboration for solving job tasks
Learner – Facilitator Cooperation

1. Start learning project after manager's decision

2. State learning objective(s) related to the task given

3. Identify competencies possessed - competencies to acquire. How

competencies possessed help the acquisition of new competencies

4. Identify resource persons and start collaboration with them

5. Make learning schedule

6. Apply simplified problem-based learning methodology

7. Meet to discuss quality of project after each deliverable

8. Report when project is done and celebrate

Project features

awareness of customer needs

Employees discover learning opportunities from
customer requirements, engage in personal
learning projects and bring them to an end

motivated self-development
They continuously monitor and improve
their learning activities

continuing learning in the workplace

They learn and are assigned to facilitate and
promote peers' learning.

collaboration for job problem solving

They make presentations of their achievements,
participate in non-formal panel discussions,
workshops, and seminars
Open Improvement Project has four
levels of implementation
Level 0 (initial situation)

Work context Learning context

Customer requirements are vaguely defined, and are Employees are not interested to have more precise
not used to define work output quality requirements and to use them as quality criteria

Work processes are regulated, but not standardized Employees have a general idea about their work
(sub-stages poorly defined, outputs vaguely related process, but details are differently understood by
to customer needs) different persons

Employees are not aware of the discrepancies The main learning method is informal learning
between their competency components
Level 1

Work context Learning context

Customer requirements are used to control the Employees have direct access to information on
output quality customer requirements and accept adapting their
output to these requirements

Employees are encouraged to compare their Learning is part of the work-time

competency levels to competency standards

Management has precise information on their Facilitation for learning is used by a third of the
employees' competency levels and start assigning employees
them improvement projects

Reference documents that contain regulation of the Some learning resources are identified and
current activity are gathered and easy accessible accessible to all the employees

Consultation starts about how direct interaction Open spaces are available
between employees can be used for knowledge
sharing and knowledge creation
Level 2

Work context Learning context

Work processes are standardized Learning roles are well established and
assignments are accurate

Learning for competency improvement is Facilitation for learning is used by more than a half
considered as important as the job tasks by the of the employees

Employees get used with competency Learning communication models are are well
improvement tasks established

Employees search learning resources and add Learning resources are consolidated and actively
them to a professional information database deployed

Employees consider their tasks using a problem Self study is part of the employee activity
solving approach

Collaboration and cooperation is used in a Communication for problem solving/learning is

systematic way encouraged by management

Informal discussions are encouraged as an Open spaces are currently used as environments
approach for task accomplishment for knowledge sharing
Level 3

Work context Learning context

Learning potential is considered as important as New employees are hired for their capacity to learn
the work experience in personnel recruiting

Competency improvement has a well defined Employee learning is tracked by management for
approach and is current to all employees employee assessment

Learning achievements signify job problems Motivation to learn is constantly encouraged by

solved are rewarded management

Problem solving is the current approach in job Problem solving is a characteristic competence of
tasks the majority of employees

Seniority is defined as work experience AND as Communication for problem solving/learning is

successful learning projects facilitation used by the great majority of employees

Communication for problem solving and Open spaces are currently used to communicate
innovation is common place for the employees new projects, ideas, or special job problems
There are five stages of development for each level

Initiating:set context, build sponsorship, charter

Diagnosing: characterize current and desired states,
develop recommendations
Establishing: set priorities, develop approach, plan
Acting: create solution, pilot/test solution, refine
solution, implement solution. Principle: involve all key
Learning from project: propose future actions, analyze
and validate propositions
Applications of Open Improvement Project

New hire integration

Transfer of learning from training to job tasks

Improvement of performance without training

Medium level management performance improvement

Innovation in the workplace