Like a GPS for Learning Projects: The Role of the Roadmap in Learning and Development

This topic was the focus of discussion on a recent AXIOM Learning Solutions Office Hours live broadcast. Watch the video here or on YouTube.

What is a Roadmap for Learning & Development?

The development of a roadmap is a consulting process that identifies where you are and where you want to go. In the roadmap document, you will assess your current situation, what pieces you have which are ready, which pieces are missing, and what gaps exist, and what needs to be accomplished in order to reach your objectives.

Who prepares the Roadmap?

As a learning and development services provider, AXIOM Learning Solutions most often partners with a client to prepare the Roadmap document in order to define the scope and needs of a learning project. It can be viewed as a mutual diagnostic, in which AXIOM’s experts are working with your team to identify needs, gaps, and opportunities; at the same time, your team will gain an understanding of what needs to be included in your scope of work, and whether any gaps exist in the tools, staff and services you have available to you.

How does a Roadmap help identify hidden obstacles?

The preparation of the Roadmap document, as a diagnostic tool, frequently makes an organization aware of unseen obstacles, or needs which exist but have not yet been documented, and so can be an effective tool to appropriately establish the scope of a project. And, because this process helps to identify otherwise unforeseen obstacles, it can be an effective means to mitigate risk.

“A client may come to us and say, ‘we want to do a leadership program.’ That’s their end point. But is it, really? The Roadmap allows us to dig deeper, ask the questions to determine what the end point is: is it a training program, or is it coaching with their existing leaders? Is it more of a top-down approach that should be taken, not necessarily starting with their front line leaders? So, we are really digging into what they believe is their end point,” explains Susan Nabonne Beck, vice president of learning design and strategy at AXIOM.

Another client example is a learning need defined by data. “Maybe customer service scores are low, or call volumes are high and rate or answer is low, as a customer service example,” said Beck. “Whatever the situation, we dig in and identify where you are today, and where those end points may be, and the paths you may take to get there.”

Whose perspectives are included in a Roadmap?

Your team’s participation, and the participation of your stakeholders, are both important to the preparation of the learning Roadmap. The stakeholder discussions are important to achieve alignment about the desired end state—agreement about what success looks like.

At the same time, L&D practitioners are a key part of the process. The Roadmap not only identifies the scope of work that needs to be completed, but the resources required to do the work. This can be internal resources (identifying members of an in-house learning team or other contributors to the project) but also contract or other vendor-sourced resources, ranging from an individual contributor brought on through learning staff augmentation, to a comprehensive managed project and team.

Does the Roadmap prescribe a single path or provide options?

The process of developing the Roadmap is a tool that can be used to bring stakeholders to the table, and to gain consensus about the desired outcome, and define the scope and budget needed.

But a Roadmap can also be used as a scenario planning and decision document, to help your organization decide which route to take, and when.

“This is the map of where we need to go, this is what the consultant is suggesting,” said Beck. “We dig deeply enough into the planning document to be able to present solutions. We can do a phased approach. For example, we can train front-line supervisors first; second phase would be to train managers of managers, and so on. It becomes a document of possibilities.”

The Roadmap process aids your team in documenting your current state and can identify new opportunities associated with reaching your goals.

Is a Roadmap document unique to my situation?

The process of developing a roadmap is a repeatable process, but no two roadmaps are identical. This is the nature of the process which identifies unique needs and objectives.

For this reason, roadmaps should be prepared as a prelude to taking action: time will change the circumstances against which your roadmap is prepared. Your roadmap should identify the right time to take action, the length of time that a project is expected to take, and also options to re-evaluate and course-correct along the way.

Learn more or get started

If you’d like to speak with a member of the AXIOM team about a Roadmap to guide your learning initiatives, fill out this form and we’ll be in touch.

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