Learning Strategy

Create a plan for where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.

A learning strategy defines the training and development employees need to support the organization’s goals. It’s like architectural drawings for an addition to a house. It creates a picture of what needs to be built while tying into the existing house, accounting for the environment, and meeting building codes and restrictions.

A learning strategy, or sometimes called a training strategy, is the vision for employee development. It says, ‘this is how we do learning here.’ Having a vision helps move employee development from having a narrow focus on training (acquiring skills and knowledge) to performance (change in behaviour). It helps your work effort move from being reactive to strategic. 

There are three main areas to define and analyze when creating a learning strategy.

Organization goal

Take the time to clearly identify the organization’s goal, or, in a large organization, the division’s mandate. This ensures alignment between the learning strategy and the organization. It also helps to identify metrics that can evaluate the effectiveness of the training and development once implemented.


When defining the learners, think of how people in marketing create personas to describe their audience. Have a detailed understanding of your audience so you can ensure the learning plan is relevant and applicable.

Organization environment

Consider these components in the organization’s environment to determine what is realistic and will work with the organization’s culture:

  • Existing development programs and training assets.
  • Technology (e.g., what’s needed, what’s already in place and what’s realistic).
  • Other organization initiatives (e.g., talent and people strategy).
  • Departments and stakeholders who provide input and who will be impacted by the change.
  • Internal resources who can champion and implement the strategy.

What is the benefit of having a learning strategy?

The model on the right illustrates how a training department might function without a learning strategy to guide its work – and how it can move to a more strategic approach that is performance-focused.

  • The horizontal continuum reflects a reactive vs. strategic approach.
  • The vertical continuum reflects a focus on training vs. performance.

Learning Strategy: model explained

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Looking for more?


I offer free webinars to introduce different aspects of creating a learning strategy.

Join me to start a conversation and learn concrete tips to get started.


I offer a 12-week program in which decision-makers learn the different aspects of creating a learning strategy and, applying what they learn, create a learning strategy for their organization.


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Past projects

These are some examples of learning strategies I’ve created for clients:

Email me if you need a partner to help you figure out where you want to go and how you can get there.