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Home > News > February 2007 > 05 February 2007

KnowledgePool publishes paper on managed learning

KnowledgePool has published a new paper on managed learning entitled 'Addressing the talent shortage (the rise of the managed learning service)'.

According to KnowledgePool, learning & development teams are increasingly turning to managed learning service providers as they try to address talent shortages without losing control or increasing headcount.

KnowledgePool's paper includes a definition of managed learning and case studies from financial services, IT and central government organisations.

Kevin Lovell, learning strategy director at the managed learning service provider, said: "Managed learning offers clients a low risk strategy for increasing capacity - or for accommodating fluctuating workloads - without the responsibilities of recruiting and managing staff or administering associated systems.

"It has already been proven with other business support activities such as utility management, IT, recruitment and payroll. Managed learning is a significant step beyond the traditional outsourcing of training development and delivery but it is smaller in scope than a full HR business process outsource."

Lovell added: "Training departments handle a huge administrative workload, which consists of highly repetitive, labour-intensive, yet very necessary tasks. A managed learning service delivers considerable efficiencies at this level and can also support more strategic activities such as needs analysis, the evaluation of training, the benchmarking of multiple training suppliers and the provision of comprehensive management intelligence."

According to the paper, a new breed of flexible, specialist learning suppliers has evolved that can take responsibility for all of an organisation's learning needs and processes, provide people and systems to manage training activity and source learning courses and resources from a multitude of training providers, in contracts usually lasting three to five years.

KnowledgePool says these firms can reduce costs by passing on discounts on training purchases gained through economies of scale, using technology to automate the repetitive, labour-intensive administration processes and running shared service operations.

For organisations considering appointing a managed learning service provider, the paper recommends visiting customer sites and asking the following questions:

  • Does the provider understand your business and the learning required to support it?
  • Do they have proven experience in delivering managed learning services?
  • Are they vendor-independent with unbiased access to a broad range of possible suppliers? Do they provide value-added services such as evaluation and supplier management?
  • Can they provide accurate management information?
  • Are they up-to-date with best practice and the latest thinking in training?
  • Do they have the ability to take the service forward in the future?

The paper admits that some L&D heads have concerns about relinquishing aspects of learning to an external provider - they fear that this may lead to job cuts, a loss of control or a change in culture.

"There are understandable concerns about outsourcing but our experience shows that it can and does work," said Lovell. "A good provider should be able to work in partnership with a client to understand the business need and agree realistic expectations. This gives clients confidence. All the evidence shows that an increasing number of organisations are embracing this model because they see it as the best option for meeting their learning & development needs."

'Addressing the talent shortage (the rise of the managed learning service)' can be downloaded free from KnowledgePool´s website:

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