Leading the Learning Function
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Leading the Learning Function September 14, 2009. Dr. Gretchen Van der Veer Director, Office of Leadership Development and Training Corporation for National and Community Service. Learning Goals for this Session. By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

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Leading the learning function september 14 2009

Leading the Learning Function

September 14, 2009

Dr. Gretchen Van der Veer


Office of Leadership Development and Training

Corporation for National and Community Service

Learning goals for this session
Learning Goals for this Session

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • identify the value of the learning function to their organization

  • identify some trends in the nonprofit/national service sector

  • write a business plan for the learning function based on organizational business goals

  • better understand your role as a strategic leader of your organization

Source documentation for this session
Source Documentation for this Session

  • Crutchfield, L.R. and McLeod Grant, H. Forces for good: the six practices of high-impact nonprofits. Jossey- Bass, San Francisco, CA, 2008.

  • Managing the learning function. American

    Society for Training and Development, Alexandria, VA, 2006 updated version.

Understanding the context for the learning function
Understanding the Context for the Learning Function

Discussion Questions:

  • In this era of economic retrenchment and budget cuts across all sectors, why should the learning function continue?

  • What’s the rationale? What’s the value?

Leading the learning function september 14 2009

Training for Excellence

Understanding the Context

External Factors








Learning Function


Key questions in building value
Key Questions in Building Value

  • What is going on in the larger external environment?

  • How does that impact my organization?

  • What is the state of my organization?

  • How does the learning function add strategic value to furthering the goals of my organization?

External environment
External Environment

  • What are some of the key drivers in the nonprofit/national service environment right now?

  • How will those drivers have an impact on my organization (if they are not already)?

Nonprofit environment
Nonprofit Environment

Old Way of Thinking About Nonprofits:

  • Program Replication as means of expanding social impact (1980’s)

  • Building organizational capacity to deliver programs more efficiently (1990’s)

    New Way of Thinking About Nonprofits:

  • Nonprofits as catalytic agents of change

    Crutchfield, L. R. and McLeod Grant, H.

Myth busters
Myth busters

  • Myth 1: Perfect management

  • Myth 2: Brand name awareness

  • Myth 3: A breakthrough new idea

  • Myth 4: Textbook mission statements

  • Myth 5: High ratings on conventional metrics

  • Myth 6: Large budgets

Six practices of high impact nonprofits
Six Practices of High-impact Nonprofits

  • Advocate and Serve

  • Make markets work

  • Inspire evangelists

  • Nurture nonprofit networks

  • Master the art of adaptation

  • Share Leadership

National service environment
National Service Environment

  • Serve America Act

  • Social innovation

  • Call to Service

  • Expand

  • Measure/results

  • Compliance

  • Others?

Establishing value
Establishing Value

Develop a Business Model for the Learning Function

“The learning function must have a business model that aligns resources to the priority goals of the larger organization.”

ASTD, Managing the Learning Function

Keys to establishing a business model
Keys to Establishing a Business Model

  • How is the learning function funded? Who are your partners/sponsors?

  • Who are your clients and what is your relationship to them?

  • What products and services do you offer?

  • What criteria will be used to judge your value?

Needs assessments
Needs Assessments

  • Needs-based approach (identify performance gaps based on assessment of knowledge)

  • Wants-based approach (what do clients say they want/need?)

  • Results-based approach (identify learner goals based on business needs/goals and identify appropriate measures)

Measuring value
Measuring Value

Traditional Measures

  • # of people trained/served

  • # of trainings offered/hours of delivery

  • Participant reaction surveys

    New Learning Measures

  • Increase in a business goal (i.e. %age increase in member retention, new applicants, programs making match, or reduced # of audit findings).

Taking it home
Taking It Home

Please find the worksheets on your table. Take 10 minutes to work through the questions and then find a partner at your table to share your business plan. Spend the next 15 minutes sharing your plans with each other and providing constructive feedback. At the end of the time we will ask for one or two pairs to share their plans.

How can we best support you
How Can We Best Support You?

How can the Corporation best support you in the development and execution of your learning function business plans?