September 21, 2022

Get the Most Out of Your Progression Framework with Curation-based L&D

Melissa Malec

If someone told you where you needed to go but didn’t provide a map for how to get there, you’d probably feel lost, confused and frustrated. 

That’s how your people feel when they see your progression framework. They see a bunch of destinations without clear guidance on how to get to any of them. 

Don’t get us wrong, progression frameworks are great at creating transparency around performance expectations and laying foundations for the overall employee experience. But what they don’t do is show your people how they can go about meeting those expectations or progressing.

So to get the most out of your framework, you’ll need to give your people a map. 

Curation-based L&D is the map your people need to get where they’re going, whether up the ladder, moving laterally within the business or simply performing better in their current role.

What is curation-based L&D?

L&D refers to learning and development while curation refers to choosing and organising learning resources based on skills, topics and knowledge levels. 

An entry-level employee wouldn’t necessarily use the same resources a ‘Head of’ would because they have different skills gaps to fill. And someone who has coded for 10 years would need different learning resources than someone who has never coded in their life.

The aim of carefully curating resources is to make employee learning focused and effective while still allowing your people to own their development.

That’s why it works so well when paired with your progression framework.

But who curates these resources? It could be you, it could be ad-hoc curation by your people, it could be by various topic experts. Or it could be all three via a learning marketplace and platform like Learnerbly.

Personalisation based on skills and performance needs is the key to learning the right things from the right resources at the right time. 

The end result should be an organisation of people who can take ownership of their learning, progression and performance.

Why you should align your career framework to curation-based L&D

Launching a progression framework is all about improving performance and outlining the potential for mobility (vertical, lateral and even squiggly!) but it doesn’t give you the how. 

Curation-based L&D does.

Curation-based L&D provides guidance 

Maps give clarity. They show you multiple routes to getting to your destination, each one trustworthy.

You just have to choose the route that’s best for your needs and gets you there quickly.  

Curation-based L&D gives you directions in the form of resources. Your people will know what steps they can take when learning new skills.

It shouldn’t be overly prescriptive though, learning should still be bottom-up with your people in the driving seat. They can choose to change course at any time, take detours, and pick the parts of the map that work best for them.

But the guidance is there to support their performance and progression. 

Curation-based L&D instils confidence in the quality of their resources

When it comes to learning, there are a lot of resources out there and they range in quality. 

A Google search for ‘how to communicate better’ can populate thousands of results and most of them are unreliable because of the way search engines prioritise some sites over others. So your people can’t trust Google to show them learning resources that are right for them or are worth their time.

A curated list of quality resources put together by a topic expert, however, is something they can rely on.

It doesn’t even have to be an expert. It could just be someone who has used those resources before and benefitted from them. 

As humans, we trust the experiences of our peers—that’s why businesses rely on positive reviews to drive sales. Learning resources need their own seal of approval for a learner to have confidence that they’ll help them achieve their goals.

Curation gives that seal of approval because another person has put together the list and figured out what’s good and what’s relevant.

It keeps learning relevant to business objectives and employee goals 

Good L&D is known to boost employee engagement and retention in businesses. Great L&D accomplishes those things while keeping their employees’ learning relevant to business priorities.

If an employee was given a learning platform and encouraged to learn, they might spend some time learning a language, some reading an article about productivity and the rest on improving their data analysis skills.

All of that is good. But it’s unfocused and may not all be relevant to helping them perform in their role right now. A divided focus may delay their progress.

Curation-based L&D has enough structure to make learning impactful and focused while still allowing employees to choose what and how they learn.

With a curated list of resources, your people can hone in on a specific skill set and access resources that will make them proficient.

How to align curation-based L&D with your career framework

Well first, make sure you have a framework. Don’t have one? We do, and it's yours for the taking! Download it for free here.

Next, you’ll need to turn the career framework into a skills framework, curate learning resources to those skills, and then introduce personal learning budgets to your people so that they can engage with those resources.

Or you could scroll past these three steps and find out how you can enable performance and progression through Learnerbly’s version of curation-based L&D. Up to you!

Step 1 - Turn your career framework into a skills framework

Your career framework has core capabilities that your people’s performance is measured against. Those core capabilities are then broken down into actions and behaviours for different role levels and pathways (individual contributors and managers).

What you need to do is turn those actions into skills and create a skills framework that mirrors your career framework. Doing so gives your people clarity over what skills they’re missing.

How do you do this? You take each capability, look at what is expected at each level and identify the skills required for someone to actually meet those expectations.

Below you can see the capability “Delivery’ alongside what’s expected at level 2 for an individual contributor (IC). 

From the image, we know a level 2 IC is expected to support and guide a team to understand and follow processes. To achieve that they may need to learn skills related to guiding others.

Each capability and level will have multiple skills within it. These skills can form what some refer to as ‘learning pathways’ but which we call playlists.

A playlist is a curation of resources that help an individual learn a specific skill.

Step 2 - Curate playlists with learning resources that match your skills framework

You’ll need to populate your learning paths or playlists with relevant resources that are of high quality, cover multiple learning formats and work together to build the required knowledge to master the skill.

The collection of resources needs to represent the action that is specified in the career framework.

We’ve already said a level 2 IC needs to have guidance skills, so what resources will help them develop those skills? That’s for you to figure out but here’s a peek at the playlist we built for our people.

Don’t underestimate the amount of time it will take to pull these curated lists together as well as the need for topical knowledge. 

Once you have your playlists aligned to your career framework, you need to rely on your managers to help your people perform.

During performance conversations, managers can help their reports see where expectations of their role are not being met and then point them to the relevant collection of resources.

Make sure your paths are paved to enable performance

Not just any curation of resources will help your people progress or perform in their roles. 

They have to be curated with intention. An intention to have the best resources available. An intention to cover the skill topic broadly with options to go deeper. 

Curating a list of resources that cover topic depth and breadth enables your people to learn from it regardless of how much they know already.

We recommend each of your playlists or paths have at least four resources. The first one should be an introduction to the skill, ideally free and fast to consume. 

The first resource is a launching point from which your people can dive deeper.

The other three or more resources are more technical and range in modality and duration. This is so that learners can slot them into their flow of work based on what they need to learn right now and consume the content in the format they learn best.

Not all learning resources are free. Your curated playlists may contain a variety of price points and you don’t want this to be a blocker to your people’s high performance.

Step 3 - Introduce PLBs for your people to spend on resources

Giving your people a list of resources they can use to enable performance and progress in their roles alone isn’t equitable. That’s because not all resources are free and not everyone can afford to invest their own money in learning.

Unintentionally, you’ll give an unfair advantage to employees who have higher salaries, who have benefited from generational wealth, or who have fewer drains on their financials. They’ll be able to meet performance expectations and earn promotions over those who can’t afford the resources.

That’s why companies who want their employees to have the same opportunities should offer personal learning budgets (PLBs).

An alternative is to provide blanket subscriptions to eLearning libraries like Linkedin Learning but that restricts you to their content. What you want is to curate the best resources, wherever they come from.

Plus PLBs used alongside a curation-based learning marketplace can boost engagement— something eLearning libraries and Learning Management Systems struggle with.

That’s what happened with Unmind who were able to increase learning engagement by 400% after introducing Learnerbly.

And with Signifyd who moved away from Linkedin Learning when their business priorities outgrew it's functionality.

So, what's next?

The above steps will help you get the most out of your progression framework, improving employee performance so that your business is better positioned to achieve its goals. 

But they’re not always easy to implement quickly. That’s where Learnerbly comes in.

Use Learnerbly alongside your progression framework to enable performance through learning

Learnerbly is both the map and the vehicle that gets your people to high-performance. 

As a marketplace that curates the world’s best learning resources and a platform experience that actually makes learning happen, we’re better positioned to enable your people’s performance and progression than any other L&D tool out there.

When combined with a career progression framework, your people really will have everything they need to perform.

How does it work?

Our curation is based on three things: internal subject experts, content reviews from our global users, and learners’ usage. 

The content that exists in our marketplace is vetted by our Curation team and Partnerships team. It’s regularly updated with new resources and our existing catalogue is adjusted based on reviews from our users and their overall usage of the content. 

We’ve built an algorithm that populates a learner’s homepage with relevant resources based on their preferences and interests. Those preferences span across topics and learning formats (podcasts, articles, courses, etc).

Curated playlists are put together by industry experts and our internal Curation team. They’re built around in-demand skills, ones that you’ll find relevant to your progression framework and business objectives.

But we’re not the only curators. You and topical experts in your business can create playlists for your people that foster alignment and match business needs. 

That way, whenever a performance gap is spotted, you (and your managers) can confidently show your people the resources that fill the gap. All the while equipping them with equitable access via PLBs so that their goals are achievable.

Playlists on our platform can be built to slot into your people’s flow of work so that they can deliver excellence on business-critical projects they have right now. 

If you’re interested in L&D that aligns with your framework and fuels performance without having to do it all yourself, book a call and put your people one step closer to high performance.

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