Learning Ecosystems: Why You Need One, and How We Can Help

In our prior blog post, How to Build a Thriving Ecosystem for Learners, we broadly defined the concept of a learning ecosystem and discussed its most fundamental components. We noted that a learning ecosystem is a deliberate and unique approach to gathering participants, systems, support, and content together to create a learning environment that supports the goals of both the organization and the individual. Like ecosystems that occur in nature, learning ecosystems are not limited by size. They may be organized around a small team, a department, or encompass an entire agency.

Elements of a Learning Ecosystem

Regardless of size, the learning ecosystem requires support in the form of clear and repeatable processes as well as overall governance and long-term strategy; content to sustain and encourage learning both in formal environments as well as informally and on the job; participants to engage in the ecosystem as well as oversee, maintain, and improve the ecosystem; and systems appropriate to the size and complexity of the ecosystem’s infrastructure requirements. In this blog, we will dive deeper into Management Concepts’ Learning Ecosystem services and approach. In future posts, we’ll continue to explore this subject so that you can better identify your organization’s specific requirements.

At the core of Management Concepts’ Learning Ecosystem services are your and your organization’s goals and objectives. We collaborate with clients to establish, understand, and support short and long-term goals so our teams are equipped to continue the growth and development of a healthy learning ecosystem. By supporting all participants in their learning journey through accessible products and providing you with a reliable infrastructure, data management, and data-informed recommendations and guidance, Management Concepts helps to ensure your learning ecosystem's success. The goals and objectives are further supported by learning experiences and project and program management.

Learning experiences that are participant-centered enhance both engagement in learning and retention and application of that learning. This involves structured learning that draws on the individual’s own experiences and engages them in shared learning opportunities aimed at supporting their current needs along with the needs of the organization. In addition, we prioritize performance support resources for long-term retention, knowledge management methodologies to ensure the transfer of critical concepts, and development for continuous growth. We promote opportunities for collaboration along with access to experts to deepen understanding and achieve authentic practice in the learning environment. All this aids with retention and the application of learned skills to ensure goals and objectives are achieved.

Project and program management services that are client-centered often include targeted project and administrative support designed to clearly define program and project-level activities and meet milestones. These activities include the engagement of highly qualified project managers along with systems and processes that ensure service continuity and accountability. We know that like natural ecosystems, programs are not and should not be static. Continuous improvement based on data analysis and reporting should be both anticipated and encouraged to support your strategic planning. Our team has expertise in the collection, synthesis, and visualization of critical data elements.

What does this look like in practice?

For a DoD client, we transitioned from commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) courses to a training program supported by tailored eLearning, a full-time onsite Training Manager, and the development of a learning portal that allows our client to communicate with and manage training opportunities for a 10,000-member workforce. For this client and others, we created and manage a dedicated website, a custom learning portal, the delivery of hundreds of classes both in the brick-and-mortar classroom as well as in the live virtual classroom, and maintain content for accuracy. This learning ecosystem allowed our client to:

  • Prepare staff to meet certification requirements
  • Create an eLearning portal where students can find and self-enroll in training as well as access their classes, course materials and certificates
  • Make the transition to a virtual class delivery medium

With another federal partner, we created and maintain customized classes across multiple modalities, created a custom website and learning portal, and created supplemental learning resources including webinars, podcasts, microlearning, infographics, a community of practice, and a curated resource library. We provide monthly reporting supported by visualized data elements and work collaboratively with our client to grow and expand the program using this data to inform decisions. We added a certificate program with multiple tracks, conference presentations in collaboration with the client, the creation of role-specific journey maps to better understand and support development opportunities and requirements, and the creation and delivery of industry-specific original articles and newsletters to thousands. This learning ecosystem allowed our client to:

  • Prepare staff to meet legislated training requirements
  • Increase collaboration and knowledge sharing
  • Improve their decision-making using data

How to Get Started

Does this sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be. And it can be scaled slowly, at your pace, and within your budget. At Management Concepts, we understand that every learning ecosystem is different, and we have the experience to expertly help you develop the learning ecosystem that will meet your needs.

Contact Tom Ladenburg at tladenburg@managementconcepts.com or 703-270-4176 to find out more about how Management Concepts can help you support a learning ecosystem in your organization.

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Custom Learning Solutions
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AGA PDT 2023
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