As stated previously, top-down learning happens at the employer’s initiative, and does so because organisations need their employees to have the right knowledge and skills if they are to perform effectively. Whatever the attractions of a more bottom-up approach (as we shall see), some learning cannot be left to chance. Why? Because employees need basic competencies and they don’t always know what they don’t know, where to look for answers or who to turn to; because requirements change (new policies, products, plans), and because employees must be developed to fill future gaps.
However, it is unrealistic for all learning to be managed on a top-down basis, particularly in those organisations where change is constant and knowledge requirements hard to predict. As most top-down learning requires the direct intervention of subject experts and l&d professionals, resources are clearly going to be limited, so priorities have to be made. Top-down learning is likely to be most valuable for the 20% of knowledge that is needed 80% of the time, and for learning that is most critical in terms of risk to safety, budget or reputation.
Coming next in chapter 4: The need for bottom-up learning
Obtain your copy of The New Learning Architect