Image of learning business concept with education elements

“The learning business” is a concept at the heart of our work. Having now written and spoken about it in many places, we thought it would be helpful to pull together some our most essential learning business resources into a single page, representing a sort of informal curriculum. These are materials you can work through individually, or – much better from our point of view – use as the basis for ongoing departmental or team discussions and planning within your organization. We’ll return to this page often over time to flesh it out and update it, so we recommend that you bookmark it.

Keep in mind that if you offer learning experiences to adult learners as part of your business model, we view you as being in the learning business. It does not matter whether you are selling learning directly – e.g., as a main business or business line – or whether it is part of the value proposition for a broader business model – e.g., a member benefit. Either way, you are in the learning business.

Learning Business Podcast Episodes

To start with, here are the Leading Learning podcast specifically dedicated to the concepts of “the learning business” and “leading learning.” Keep in mind that we provide extensive show notes for all of our episodes, so even if you don’t want to listen, clicking through will provide you with content you can read on each topic.

  • The “Why” of the Learning Business
    As the title suggests, in this episode we discuss why we believe the concept of the learning business is so important. We start with an abbreviate version of our definition of the concept, in case it is not already familiar.
  • The Learning Business Manifesto
    The manifesto is intended as a succinct way to state some of the key ideas and principles that should drive a successful learning and education business.
  • The Learning Business Professional
    We believe that the people who work in learning businesses fulfill a very different role from those found in the other types of education and training organizations. And because it is a different role, it requires a different mindset, skill set, and body of knowledge.
  • The Learning Business Maturity Model
    The Maturity Model brings it all together into a framework to help organizations assess capabilities and to surface problem areas – and then provide a clear way to move from problem to opportunity and from there, towards innovation. You can also read more about and download the related resources in this foundational post on the topic.
  • Exploring What It Means to Lead Learning
    Finally, our vision of the learning business is underpinned by our view that the most successful and impactful organizations lead learning in the fields and industries they serve. In this episode, we discuss what that means.

Additional Episodes

All of the items linked to above contain or point to additional resources, but here are direct links to several other episodes that are very closely related to the concept of the learning business. Again, keep in mind that there are extensive, text-based show notes to go with each of these episodes.

  • One Word: Impact
    Long term success in the learning business really comes down to whether your efforts are having an impact. In this episode, we discuss what that means and the implications for organizations in the learning business.

Other Learning Business Resources

We offer a range of free resources for learning businesses on our main resources page.  For your convenience, we thought we would highlight a few of the most essential ones here.

  • The Market Insight Matrix
    Succeeding as a learning business requires really understanding your market – and then leading it. The Market Insight Matrix is an essential tool.
  • The Value Ramp
    One of simplest, and yet most powerful tools, the Value Ramp can help you develop a product strategy that makes sense.
  • The Learning Business Maturity Model
    We reference this above, but it is such an important resource, we want to be sure you don’t miss it.
  • Learning Platform Selection Resources
    Technology is such an important part of the new learning landscape that we want to be sure you know we have these resources available.

Again, you can find other valuable resources on our main resources page. Please note that everything mentioned here and nearly everything mentioned in the resource center is free. We make these resources free because we feel it is extremely important to spread knowledge about the concept of the learning business as broadly as possible. To that end, we would be truly grateful if you would make use of the social sharing buttons you find on this and other pages to share these resources with others.

Thanks so much,

Jeff & Celisa

Image of work "Manifesto" for Learning Business Manifesto

Lifelong learning is the imperative of our age, and those who lead learning in their fields will lead their fields.

That’s the Learning Business Manifesto in short form, and it underpins our thinking in general and has influenced much of our work, including the Learning Business Maturity Model.

In today’s world where change happens more rapidly than ever, where people change jobs more frequently than before, and where people live longer, learning is not a nice to have or something that you can check off your list as completed when you leave high school or college or even grad school. Lifelong learning is imperative.

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“One and done. That’s the approach most of our education directors take.” This was the view shared with me by the vice president of a national nonprofit organization recently. Even more recently, a trade association called me in to talk with its network of education managers about moving away from a “transactional” (my contact’s words) […]

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We periodically run a survey to answer the question How are associations using learning technologies? And it’s that time again. If you work for a membership organization, we need your help. We just launched the survey that will be the backbone of the updated version of the Association Learning + Technology report due out in […]

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Have you paid attention to recent podcast statistics? If not, now would be a good time to tune in. We recently published an episode of the Leading Learning podcast titled The Power of Podcasting. A big part of what prompted this episode was the release of the annual Infinite Dial report from Edison Research. Edison […]

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If a new or replacement learning management system is in your association’s future, join us on on July 20 for our free Webinar 7 Steps to the Right LMS for Your Association >> What kind of return on investment will we get from implementing a new or replacement learning management system (LMS)? Sometimes, organizations get bogged […]

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We’re not sure about “becoming” – it already is an imperative, in our view – but, in any case, The Economist has published a special report on lifelong learning that is well worth reading. It echoes many themes that are central to Leading the Learning Revolution as well as our writing and speaking in various […]

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One of the critical shifts we highlight in our 10 Critical Shifts in the Market for Lifelong Learning briefing is the growing need for organizations to invest in sales skills. Specifically, we write: In an increasingly competitive marketplace, it will be difficult for most organizations to thrive solely with retail, business-to-consumer sales of their educational […]

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Celisa and I had the chance to walk the expo floor at the ASAE Technology Conference recently, and as we have in the past, we wanted to highlight  the association LMS and technology-enabled learning providers that were there. The cost to show up and exhibit at the ASAE Technology Conference is not insignificant, so being there […]

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A while back I wrote about efforts of the Michigan Society of Association Executives (ASAE) to launch Third Thought, an online learning destination for its membership. Having used the platform successfully with members, MSAE is now launching Third Thought out into the broader association market. In this brief video, I talk with MSAE Cheryl Ronk […]

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