This is how you create a Learning and Development vision




A vision on learning is the start for every learning organisation. The reason L&D exists, is to carry out this vision. A Learning Management Vision (LMS) or learning platform is often the tool of choice. Clarify the vision before you start a Request for Proposal (RFP). 

The vision on learning should assist your organisation in realising its mission. It’s a step often forgotten, causing a disconnect between HR, L&D and teh rest of the company. Formulating a vision on learning is, for that exact reason, not different than formulating a corporate vision. By aligning the vision on Learning and Development to the company mission, the investment in an LMS or learning platform becomes measurable.

You have to be able to answer these three questions before you start formulating a vision on Learning and Development:

Which L&D challenges is your organisation facing?

Question 1: Why does L&D exist?

There’s a reason the L&D department – or L&D roles within an HR-department – exist. That reason goes much further than taking care of course administration. What’s the goal that L&D has to realise? Clarify this.

Question 2: Where are you now, where are you going and why?

Clarify the current situation. How is learning organised? Is this done centrally? Top-down or Bottom-up? In decentralised learning, every department choses it’s own provider. This causes little central coordination. In centralised learnin it’s the opposite: all learning is organised from one place. Often this means that HR and L&D dictate the learning product offering.

Have you clarified what your organisation’s doing? Then it’s important to clarify why you want to move away from the current situation. Which organisational need supports that development need? In the end you’ll reach a conclusion: either you control the development of employees, or you stimulate it.

Question 3: What do you do well and what are your future needs?

L&D and HR have certain in-house expertise. What is this like in your organisation? Is this -everything- you require?

“By aligning the Learning and Development vision to the mission of the company, the investment in an LMS or learning platform becomes measurable.”

By answering the above question, you’re laying the foundation for a true vision. Now is the time to bring it all together in one clearly expressed vision. All well formulated visions share the following features:

Short and powerful

Too short and you won’t convey the message. Too long and the vision isn’t memorable. The ideal literary-expression of a vision is around 35 words, or two-to-three sentences.


Avoid trend terminology and jargon. A vision brings people together by setting a common goal. Everybody needs to understand this.

Abstract and challenging

A vision’s goal shouldn’t be too concrete,, such as ‘launching an LMS’. Avoid clichés such as ‘the best’, but make sure the goal is abstract. Instead of ‘Offering an LMS’, one of the goals could be ‘To offer an environment in which we can help employees reach their full potential’. This helps to show relevancy in L&D’s activities, as everything you do can be weighed against that vision. The method to achieving your goal is ever-changing, mostly due to new developments. The need to reach that goal never changes.

Explain why you exist

An effective vision explains what you want to achieve and your role in it. A strong vision on learning is the ultimate reason d’etre for L&D within an organisation.

Future oriented

A vision is formulated as a long-term goal. Where you want to end up has to be in it. An effective vision describes the actions L&D do.

States a clear goal

A well-made vision inspires employees by formulating a desirable outcome. This could include:

  • Common values
  • A collective identity
  • Your organisation’s Unique Selling Points (USP’s)
  • The value and effectiveness of your employees

After formulation a vision on learning you’ll be ready to inventory the needs of the L&D department. A well formulated vision on L&D means those needs should be the same, or close to, the needs of the entire organisation. It’s time to end the world of disjointed HR and L&D departments.

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