Advanced Learning and Development Practices to Accelerate Skill and Capability Growth.

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Wowledge Expert Team
Principal level
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This guide is part of a progression set comprised of Core, Advanced, and Emerging Learning & Development practices.

What it is

These practices focus on developing, staffing, and managing a learning and development function that is highly responsive to business needs and leverages both technologies and non-classroom methods to efficiently develop employee knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). Advanced practices engage top leadership and management to create a corporate culture of continuous learning for every employee by offering resources, support, and encouragement for company-driven and self-driven development opportunities. Top leadership is given the guidance and structure needed to effectively oversee and provide input and direction to the planning, execution, and evaluation of learning and development strategies, programs, investments, and outcomes.  

In a more sophisticated L&D function, advanced tools and techniques are used to deliver learning where and when it is needed. These technologies are evaluated in a formalized and structured manner, allowing for comparison against the company’s business requirements and capability expectations, cost parameters, and competitive products. The creation of these advanced capabilities requires a broader set of in-house skills. These skills bring an understanding of the business requirements that are driving learning requirements and programs, the cultural preferences and expectations that need to be met, and the expertise in methods and tools to create responsive programming. The objective is to reduce reliance on time-consuming and costly classroom training. This approach gives more control to functional supervisors, managers, and employees themselves to decide what will be learned and when.  It emphasizes both on-the-job and collaborative learning methods, bringing learning closer to the tasks that are being performed. This increases relevance to the job, performance requirements, and, ultimately, the career progression of a given employee.

Why use it 

As the rate of change in the business, economic, social, and public health environments intensifies, companies are increasingly required to adapt quickly and efficiently. Developing a workforce that can respond effectively to change is more critical than ever to corporate success. Getting top leadership engaged provides two primary benefits: 1) attention and awareness of the value that the function brings to maintaining a workforce capable of delivering against company objectives, and 2) ensuring that the function is appropriately resourced and funded while keeping its focus pointed towards the most critical and pressing business needs (current and future.)

A strong internal L&D team regularly contacts business leaders, addresses business imperatives and challenges, and quickly prepares the workforce as they arise. A business-aligned L&D team with sufficient skillsets and technology that can efficiently and effectively support learning is of tremendous value to any company whose workforce holds disproportionate value through its delivery of products and services. The ability to offer learning and skill development in many forms and through multiple vehicles provides more cost-effective and targeted skill acquisition and enhancement that meet the learning styles of a broad range of employees. By mixing and matching the development type with the preferences and needs of different employee segments, learning can be delivered on the job, on a schedule that best fits each learner, and in a manner that makes the most sense from an adult learning perspective. With a culture of continuous learning, that workforce can evolve with the business as it overcomes external challenges with timely and relevant learning and development opportunities.


Adopting these practices creates a powerful driver of continuous learning by creating a formalized and structured governance model that engages top leaders in the design and execution of an enterprise-wide strategy. This provides the opportunity to manage programming that is consistently linked to business priorities on a sustainable basis. It enlists highly responsive technologies to bring vastly enhanced access to different types of learning content in a more democratic and bias-free manner to employees across geographic, cultural, functional, and business unit lines. It offers a broader and more effective mix of opportunities to develop skills and knowledge outside of the traditional classroom experience in a way that addresses all employees' preferences, schedules, and learning styles. It creates a well-rounded team of L&D professionals who bring a range of capabilities and knowledge together to design, develop, and deliver quality programming cost-effectively that can address the unique needs of a given organization’s operating style and culture. It also builds a culture around continuous learning, where leaders, managers, and employees value, support, and are held accountable for taking advantage of learning opportunities.

Practice guides at this level

Establishing effective governance and business alignment with learning councils.

Forming and partnering with Learning Councils to help define strategy, approve investment decisions, drive compliance, and oversee execution to ensure alignment with business imperatives. 

Deploying technology to enhance learning delivery and management efficacies.

Creating, managing, delivering, and curating learning content at scale through technology solutions to drive cost-effectiveness and enable learning that is easy to find, use, and adopt.

Creating informal learning and experiential development opportunities for cost-effective delivery.

Establishing an environment where informal learning opportunities occur in the flow of work to enhance or add knowledge, skills, and abilities in a current job or role.

Building a team to develop, manage, and maintain multiple content and delivery vehicles.

Assembling a Learning & Development function with the right capabilities to understand and act on business and talent needs, as well as support the design and production of quality programming.

Creating a learning culture that supports career-long education and development.

Building and maintaining a learning culture that encourages and supports the continuous pursuit of knowledge, sharing of learning, and motivates the upgrade of knowledge, skills, and abilities.  

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