For instance, when people use Experience API (xAPI) to connect learning to performance, the implementation of the technology itself isn't the sole concern. The Design of the learning experiences must attune to the Delivery of those same experiences so that L&D can see the effect of the desired behaviors as they are applied to the workflow.
A "Broken Thread" is a CI connection failure. Taking the same example as above, if Design and Delivery are lined up to use xAPI, but no Learning Record Store is procured for measuring Business Outcomes, then resources will have been expended for little benefit.
The key is to make sure executives understand the CIs that keep the Golden Thread connected. If that thread is severed, then trade-offs have to be made, both for L&D and the customer. Of course, under the executive attitude of “Do More With Less,” too often the compromises are only going to fall on L&D's side. Broken Threads usually surface when LMC components don’t align or when parties can’t come to agreement on the value of the component itself. These might include a lack of available resources, scant executive support, or poor execution. Part of avoiding these situations is to recognize a Broken Thread when you see one:
Sample Broken Thread Interdependencies
If both L&D and management can establish a common understanding and agree on the interdependencies at play, a mutually beneficial plan can often be found. The process will usually move forward in one of three ways:
You can't mend a Broken Thread if you don't realize it's there. If you're too deep into a learning model transition or too close to the nitty-gritty details of implementing a project, it's easy to overlook the opportunity to weave a Golden Thread in between learning components. Having the LMC in front of you with all its disparate components made explicit can give you the perspective to spot trouble before it happens. If you have questions about any of the LMC’s components and are ready to start one of your own, drop me a line or leave a comment below.
It's possible to take an existing budget and reallocate resources to fund your overall vision for L&D, but this often takes longer and won't always completely satisfy your desired Business Outcomes. Instead, you may want to start smaller and present a three-year plan (Phased or Test path) to implement the model or project. This helps mitigate sticker shock and can keep you and your staff from being overwhelmed heading into uncharted waters. It can also give you and executives the impetus to operate agilely and prove that the model can deliver on promised Business Outcomes. Each year of proof brings another opportunity to request more funding. This way, everybody comes out looking awesome!