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Measuring learning - is your organization a learning organization?

Tema HR is a Swedish HR blog and a meeting place for everyone who is interested in HR-related issues and looking for new knowledge in the field.
The blog is run by Astrid Svedérus, an HR scientist who is passionate about evidence-based HR, a practice based on scientific evidence and organizational facts.

Below you find our summary of a great article we found on her blog about how you can measure learning and the conditions for learning.
(The full article is in Swedish and you find it here).

Summary of Astrid's Article
Measuring learning: Is your organization a learning organization?

You usually differentiate between formal and informal learning.
Formal learning is what happens in formal contexts, such as when we attend courses and training or have set aside time for learning activities. This can be measured for example in time, money, survey results, follow-up of learning objectives such as knowledge or skills tests etc.

Informal learning takes place more spontaneously such as when we do new things and discuss with others. It is harder to measure and it is also more dependent on the context in which it happens. Astrid explains:
"Depending on the conditions of the individual, the group and the organization, informal learning can be promoted or hindered. In order for us to learn from the experiences we have, in other words, there must be the right conditions for learning in the culture and the meeting between people."

So then, how do you measure whether these conditions in your organization are good?

Well, one way is the Dimensions of the Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ).
DLOQ is a scale that aims to capture dimensions of what we can call a learning organization. Researchers Victoria J. Marsick and Karen E. Watkins developed DLOQ in the 1990s, and since then many different organizations around the world have used the scale.

The 7 dimensions of DLOQ 

1 - Continuous learning

Learning is a natural part of the work and there is support for individual learning in the organization.
Example: In my organization people get time to spend on learning.

2 - Inquiry and dialogue

The culture promotes questioning, feedback, open dialogue and experimentation.
Example: In my organization people give open and honest feedback to each other.

3 - Collaboration and team learning

People in the organization are encouraged to collaborate and learn together.
Example: In my organization teams / groups can adjust their goals as needed.

4 - Systems to capture learning

The organization uses both high- and low-tech systems to collect and share learning.
Example: My organization makes lessons available to all employees.

5 - Empower people

People in the organization are involved in creating and taking responsibility for a common vision.
Example: My organization gives people control over the resources they need to carry out their work.

6 - Connect the organization to its environment

People are supported in seeing what effect their work has on the entire organization and the outside world. Monitoring and being involved in the outside world is a natural part of the work.
Example: My organization works together with the outside world to meet common needs.

7 - Strategic leadership for learning

Leadership promotes learning by being a role model and supporting learning initiatives.
Example: In my organization Managers generally support requests for training and learning opportunities.

The DLOQ system is underpinned by lots of research showing connections between the scale and business results and critiqued by others.
Regardless, writes Astrid, it can be a useful tool for measuring learning and the conditions for learning because it seems to be linked to important outcomes for the organization.

How many of the 7 dimensions would you say YES to in relation to your team and/or organization? 

Where are you strong? 

Where is the potential?


This article is part of our digital "Merry Learning Calendar"
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Rebecca Cannerfelt
Rebecca Cannerfelt