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How Development Mapping Works In L&D

Updated: Oct 7




A development map is an indispensable tool in the learning and development (L&D) training industry, particularly for organizations looking for elements of customization in their training material. 


The best-designed development maps balance and integrate high-level business goals into the L&D function as well as the individual employee needs. Enterprise leaders can work in conjunction with L&D to get a well-rounded, holistic feel for every role in the organization, identify and structurally optimize the set of learnings that are required to meet the levels of job performance in that particular role. 


A development map provides a clear look into the intricate relationships between the varied yet role-specific vital experiences for an employee in order to reach the next level of a particular growth trajectory.


When designing a training program, the common denominator for all employees in that role has to be taken into account. This amounts to a set of required outcomes every employee must achieve as part of the training. That said, every employee is the sum of the unique skillsets, learnings, and experience and brings something extra to the role. This only serves to enhance the design and development of maps that are more fine-tuned and adaptable enough to accommodate all this potential. Such maps can deliver individualized journeys from one stepping stone to the next.


The Essence Of A Development Map


As mentioned earlier, one major differentiator of development maps from traditional course catalogs or formal training charts is that they can cover more ground, taking into account a variety of developmental experiences. This also alters the end goal in terms of a measurable performance outcome. 

Thanks to this additional X factor, development maps help organizations to get more out of their resources, and make more balanced decisions, at the same time providing a highly granular training experience to their employees.

The granularity takes into account the relationship between different pieces of L&D training and experiences, for instance, hands-on/on the job training, formal workshops, informal learning, as well as available resources such as the company’s intranet, libraries, employee support systems, and so on. It is a more comprehensive and realistic roadmap to better performance outcomes.


Creating A Development Map: Steps

  1. Outline and summarize the desired performance outcomes 

  2. Define the developmental experiences required of employees to reach these performance outcomes

  3. Break down the number of stages needed

  4. Establish the timeline

  5. Outline prerequisites and incorporate events leading up to the desired performance outcomes.

Although it would appear that a development map is a highly structured entity, they should be designed to be flexible if the occasion calls for it. This can be accomplished by incorporating performance-based assessments, based on which the trainee can skip certain events or outcomes if there is any redundancy.


Other Characteristics Of A Development Map


Usually, development maps will include the structure but not all the instructional details. It will clearly show the relationships among development events, including sequence, connections, or interdependencies. By linking one aspect of the job/role to the logical next, the course designer can assemble smaller but significant building blocks into larger models of learning.

Development maps can be further evaluated for efficacy by factoring in organizational performance and financial data to better understand the performance outcomes and to correctly organize and sequence them. The process for creating and maintaining development maps is one that evolves in tandem with business intelligence capabilities as well as technology.  


How Development Mapping Benefits All Stakeholders


Employees: As the end-users, employees receive a logical, practical, and easy tool that helps them gain the training necessary to move to the next level, and set a timeline to achieve this goal. They appreciate that the organization values them and is invested in their success, thus bringing greater conviction to their performance, and being more engaged.


Managers: Managers find development mapping to be a highly streamlined and time-saving tool to address employee career and development. 


Business leaders: Development mapping when done in conjunction with L&D leaders can be useful to business stakeholders. Since business goals are the foundation on which L&D efforts are built, and training is evaluated using metrics to measure learning outcomes, the whole exercise delivers great business value. Impactful L&D can be of great use towards strategizing and making tactical decisions for the organization. 

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