The Progression of Economic Value for Organizational Learning
Pine and Gilmore (The Experience Economy) talk about the Progression of Economic Value – POEV – as a key to understanding what it is you offer. At strategichorizons.com, they say: One way to determine what business you’re in is to consider what you charge for: If you charge for raw materials, you’re in commodities; if you charge for physical things, you’re in goods; if you charge for activities you perform on behalf of another, you’re in services; but if you charge for the time people spend with you, then you’re in experiences. Today, consumers seek to spend less time and money on goods and services, but they want to spend more time and money on compelling experiences. The canonical example is coffee. Coffee sold by wholesalers is a commodity. Folgers v. Maxwell House is goods. Coffee sold by the cup in a restaurant is a service, but Starbucks is an experience. How does this map to organizational learning?
Here’s one initial thought:
- Content Object = Commodity. The content object is a collection of information about a topic, often stored in a document management system, LCMS, or even LMS. It might be a PowerPoint presentation, Word document, or even a rapid e-learning module consisting of a PowerPoint converted to flash. The attribute that makes it essentially into a commodity is that it is simply content. There is no instructional design inherent in the object. It is simply packaged information. It is judged primarily on quantity (how much of the domain do we have captured) and somewhat less but increasingly on quality (via reputation management or other means).
- Off-the-shelf Courses = Goods. Off-the-shelf courses may be ILT courseware or e-learning modules. In either case, they are designed to teach to a pre-determined set of learning objectives using principles of instructional design. One might choose one course (on leadership or sales) based on (a) price, (b) quality of instruction, and (c) goodness of fit of the pre-determined learning objectives, examples, etc. with one’s needs. These “goods” may be lower-end (a Dell library of 400 courses for $80) or high end (leadership e-learning courses packed with videos and simulations for $200 each) – but both are goods in this sense.
- Custom Courseware = Services. Custom courses may again be ILT or e-learning. They are intended to teach to your specific learning objectives, using examples pulled from your organization. They are truly a service, and usually you pay based on the number of hours required to develop them. Again, the cost rises exponentially, as one can pay from $20k to $50k per hour-long course.
- Blended Learning Programs = Experience. By blended learning programs I mean learning programs that weave together individual and group, synchronous and asynchronous, self-directed and assigned learning activities in a planned way to teach new knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are beneficial to the organization and/or learner. They almost always balance individual content acquisition with collaborative activities, and “classroom learning” with application on the job. Unlike the others, learning becomes a process over time, rather than a one-time event.
And the key value differentiator is that this latter type of learning drives proficiency and even mastery.
What do you think of this notion?