Centricity and Balance

By on August 16th, 2017 in Managed Learning Services

Have you ever experienced an ear infection? It can be painful and cause dizziness when the center of balance is thrown off. Similarly, I am noticing balance issues between the various frameworks for organizational learning. L&D has to select carefully which frameworks they use and when. Below is a brief overview of four approaches to help identify what framework or blend of frameworks may work best to help achieve desired results:

Business Centric Learning – Training needs are directed based on the needs of the business. Most successful businesses have business objectives that provide a foundation for business planning. It makes sense that in order to steer the business to meet the objectives, training, learning outcomes, and learning objectives are carefully mapped to the business needs. Such objectives focus on:

  • Profitability
  • Productivity
  • Customer service
  • Core values
  • Growth
  • Competitive analysis


If your business had a goal to increase their sales by 12%, training such as “Closing the Deal” would be commissioned so that each employee’s ability to reach the sales goal is enhanced. When business objectives are disseminated down, the relevance and sometimes the achievability are weakened.

Learner Centric – The focus of the training is directed based on the needs of learners and their identified skill gaps. It assumes learners know what they need to learn and where they can go to get it. It makes sense that learners/end users are the ones who know intimately what challenges they face and what skills they need to develop to work effectively.


The learner/staff member has a target of increasing their sales by 12%. A training needs analysis takes place directly with the workforce and indicates that they are proficient on “closing the deal,” but they need training based on the needs assessment so that they can better match products and build confidence/trust with the client.

Content Centric Learning – This focuses more on packaged training content and is normally “just-in-case” learning. It is neither tailored to the learner nor the business. This type of training normally consists of packaged courses that run from start to finish.


A business has a target of a 12% sales increase. Rather than pinpointing the need, the business releases a course that covers product knowledge, prospecting, the approach, the needs assessment, the presentation, closing the deal, and following up.

Employee Centric Learning – This training framework has the employee at the heart of the training. It is embedded into the ongoing life of an organization and everyday work practices and provides flexible, dynamic learning opportunities. It ensures that critical performance skills and knowledge contained within an organization are at the core of learning. It takes place away from the classroom and can be structured (coaching sessions, team events) or unstructured (learner-generated content, social learning platforms). This changes the focus of training from a series of process and programs to something that incorporates daily experiences and career aspirations.


The business has a target of a 12% sales increase. One of the employees is already meeting that target and has been giving lectures in the sales community on that very subject (making him the SME). He takes a recording of the session and posts it internally on their social network tool (in this case, Yammer). As work colleagues see that he posted something, they view the content and start asking questions online about how the sales techniques relate to their specific client.

I have described only a few frameworks, and I am not going to suggest one framework over another. That boils down to the culture and business structure. But, I suggest that L&D look at things holistically to decide which framework COMBINATION is suitable to their business.

Ensure the pendulum balances on the correct blend of frameworks, rather than putting the entire training budget on one horse.

What framework or blend of frameworks has proved to be successful as a part of your learning strategies?

Gary Whitfield
Gary Whitfield

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One comment on “Centricity and Balance
  1. Lewis Huff says:

    This is a great article, especially for training and development specialist like myself. It is important for those that provide training and development services to understand this as well as the client (corporation). Thank you!

    Lewis W. Huff
    Author of “Indispensable Asset” (Bit.ly/TrainToWin2)

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