Creating the Learning Organization Structure

Posted by Amanda Holm on May 28, 2015 2:10:00 PM

How do you know if the design of your learning organization is accomplishing your business goals? In PDG's new white paper, “Creating the Learning Organization Structure,”  we explore:

  • How to structure a learning organizationlearning_organization_structure_cta
  • Benefits and risks of centralized and decentralized learning
  • What a hybrid learning organization looks like
  • The pros and cons of internal versus external capabilities

Here’s a preview of the white paper:


What is the right way to structure a learning organization? Should it be highly centralized, to allow for resource sharing and economies of scale? Highly decentralized, so the output is specific to the unique needs of different functions? Should it be a hybrid, incorporating the best of both worlds? Is there even a “right” way?

PDG has been fortunate to work with hundreds of learning organizations across multiple verticals, of varying size and complexity. This experience has allowed us to develop a series of considerations, trade-offs, and synergies that lead to best practices in learning organization design. In this white paper, we will provide a variety of situational examples, along with what we believe are factors that affect your decisions and what we believe to be best practice. Ultimately, the “best” design depends on your organization, your business, and your goals.

Perspectives on Learning Organization Design

Is there a “right” way to design a learning organization?

There is no absolute “right” way, no silver bullet. Each design has inherent strengths and drawbacks.

If there is not a “best” way, is there a “better” way?

Yes. Based on your organizations strategies and capabilities, there are design structures that are likely to work better than others. Structured analysis will help determine which alternatives are most likely to drive your goals. Issues you will need to evaluate include:

  • Making necessary compromises: You usually can’t have the “best” of everything. Given strengths and weaknesses, compromises are often needed and the final design is likely to be a hybrid of the best options.
  • Managing Tradeoffs: Decisions which way to go will need to be managed via the “levers” of leadership, decision-making, people, and processes.

To read more about creating the learning organization structure, download the free white paper!

Topics: Organizational Learning, Learning Resourcing,, High Performing Learning Organization, Flexible Resource Management

Using Flexible Resourcing to Manage Learning Capabilities

Posted by Rich Mesch on Mar 31, 2014 2:40:00 PM


PDG recently published an intriguing new white paper called “Taming the Learning Demand Curve: 4 Smart Steps to Lower Cost and Higher Quality in Corporate Learning.” The white paper focuses on an innovative approach to managing demand in a learning organization and creating a flexible structure to meet stakeholder need. Here’s an excerpt from the white paper:

A few years ago, industry analyst Jack Phillips dealt the training and development field some tough love. His research, completed by polling top executives at large global organizations, told us something we may have suspected: business decision-makers have trouble understanding the business value of corporate training. But Phillips’ research also offered some insight into how to solve that problem. Those same executives said they would see the value when they understood how training and development drove success in the primary goals and initiatives of the business. So all we have to do is demonstrate how learning drives the business.

So how do you do that?

There are many ways, but the first step is to treat learning like a business. And like any business, that means managing your demand curve and your supply chain.

Learning Demand is Predictably Unpredictable

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

                                                            -- George Santayana

Remember the movie Groundhog Day? In the movie, Bill Murray’s character lives through the same day, over and over again. At first he makes the same mistakes each time he lives through the day, but over time he learns the adjust his behavior and changes the way the day plays out. Given the opportunity to learn, he does things differently and creates a better future.

Sometimes running a corporate learning department feels like Groundhog Day. Every year, we try to plan for the learning needs of our organization, and every year we end up feeling stretched as unexpected demands come up, projects shift onto our to-do lists that weren’t there before, or that new product launch that was scratched from last year’s agenda suddenly shows up on this year’s plan. You may find yourself asking, “Why does this happen every year?” But if something happens every year, it means that it’s following a predictable pattern. And once we can identify that pattern, we can analyze it and build a plan for it. That pattern will still have unpredictable elements, but we can build a system that accounts for unpredictability and allow us to deal with it—quickly and effectively—when it does happen.

Getting a Handle on Learning Resourcing

Step 1: Getting Off the Rollercoaster

If you’re like most organizations, your Learning Demand curve probably looks a little like a roller coaster. Periods of high demand for learning resources may be followed by periods where demand flattens out, or even dips… followed by additional periods of high demand. This curve can make resourcing difficult, and create sleepless nights for learning managers. So how do you begin to tame the learning demand curve?

Want to know more? You can download the entire white paper here for free! You can also click here for more information on how PDG approaches Flexible Learning Resourcing.


Rich Mesch



 Rich Mesch is Senior Director, Customer Engagement
at Performance Development Group



Topics: Learning Resourcing,