The Road to a Learning Culture Starts with Training Intake

learning culture

The concept of a learning culture has never been more relevant or more essential than it is right now. When teams are dispersed and are lacking the usual form of in-person interaction, it makes casual on-the-job learning much more difficult. When organizations are challenged with budget freezes and having to navigate through tough times, it is vital that employees have the mindset and the resources to quickly pivot in response to change.

A true learning culture empowers the organization to live in a constant state of adaptation and growth. By cultivating an open mindset and a constant quest for knowledge, improvement, and forward movement as a team amongst employees, organizations can foster a true learning culture and reap the rewards that it can bring.

What is a Learning Culture?

A learning culture can be defined as an organizational culture that is instilled with a growth mindset, where employees across all levels of the organization not only seek to learn, but to apply that knowledge to forward their own skillset, capabilities, and contribution towards organizational goals. 

The sharing of knowledge is also at the root of a learning culture, where there is a team approach that encourages employees to share their experience and engage in mentorship, peer-to-peer learning, and social learning. Research by Bersin found that organizations who cultivate a learning culture are at least 30% more likely to establish themselves as market leaders for a significant period of time. 

But, while the merits of a learning culture have long been acknowledged, organizations are still struggling with how best to foster change and instill a learning culture. In fact, only 10% of organizations have succeeded in creating a learning culture

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How Can Training Intake Help to Drive a Culture of Learning?

Developing a learning culture requires L&D to be a visible presence throughout the organization, whether through direct interaction with managers and business partners or through the easy availability of highly effective learning resources. 

It’s also essential to win executive buy-in and commitment to developing a learning culture. But, to do that, you need to be able to show the demand for training in the organization and the benefits that can be expected as a result of fostering a learning culture.

A properly developed training intake workflow can help you do all of the above. If you’re still at the early stages with overhauling training intake and the way you manage and prioritize training requests, this free ebook is a good place to start.

1. Make training requests a welcome contribution from the organization

Whether you speak directly with employees or work with business partners throughout the organization to assess the need for training, make sure you have developed a formalized training request process. Then take the time to promote it to your business partners. 

By having a formalized training request process in place, you can make sure that no need for learning slips through the cracks or goes unacknowledged by the training team. When the organization feels that L&D is listening to their training needs, they are further encouraged to pursue learning opportunities. This free training request form template is just one of the building blocks you can use to help get your new training intake system on it’s way.

Even if new course development is not the answer to their request, L&D can use the opportunity to direct them towards existing resources, external providers, or social learning opportunities, thereby enabling the cultivation of a learning culture. 

2. Improve learning outcomes and learner engagement 

A training intake system that includes a detailed training request form can lead to better outcomes for everyone.

Asking the right questions up front on the form instead of waiting to find out essential information later on will ensure you have instant oversight into the request’s strategic value to the organization. 

These questions might include:

  • What specific situation, challenge, or need is prompting this request?
  • Type of training required
  • Desired business outcome from training
  • What skills or competencies will be learned?
  • Preferred format for training
  • Approximately how many learners will take this training?
  • Does this training already exist in any format?
  • What do you expect learners to be able to do after this training?
  • How will you measure the effectiveness of this training?
  • Do you have documents or other resources that can be used as content for this training?

Some might feel that the sheer number and depth of the questions will alienate requesters. Business partners may feel forced to spend too much time on the request, and perhaps might abandon the mission altogether.

However, this level of depth is necessary, for two reasons:

It engages learners by making them think long and hard about the training they’re requesting. If they’re committed to learning, then they’ll answer as many questions as necessary on the form.

It engages the L&D team, by giving them a headstart in building the course. It decreases risk and speeds up the Analysis phase of instructional design. Casual requests made via a sticky note or instant message can’t possibly accomplish this.

As with anything, if you don’t start as you mean to go on, failure is a likelihood. But once you’ve established a training intake system, you’re on the right road to cultivating a culture of learning right down throughout the rest of your training development processes and out into the organization as a whole. 


Training intake is the key to establishing and proving the value of L&D to the organization. See  why in this free ebook:
Training Intake to the Rescue! How to Make L&D the Superheroes of Your Organization

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