Disrupting the L&D Business Model

Session Overview

The traditional L&D business model looks something like this:

  • A budget is set aside for L&D which is allocated to various project and expense heads.
  • L&D go to business to find out training needs.
  • Based on the budget and time available a solution is identified
  • L&D either builds the learning solution or outsources it.
  • Training is delivered and feedback collected but ROI is not really tracked.

This business model is one where L&D is sole provider of learning in the organisation with guaranteed income (budget allocation). Any monopolistic business model gives rise to inefficiencies.

In this interactive session we discuss other possible business models such as:

  • What if employees were allocated a development spend and were free to choose internal L&D courses or external providers as long as learning outcomes were met?
  • What if a variable part of the L&D budget depended on helping achieve organisational outcomes?
  • What if L&D used the sharing economy approach and jointly developed compliance courses with other organisations?

Put on your thinking cap and join the discussion.

Facilitator’s Point of View


LearningCafe Point of View

Business like everyone else expects best service at the lowest cost. L&D should constantly improve the value proposition by look for smart ways to reduce costs and/or improve service levels.

Big Questions

  • Does the monopolistic L&D business model stop us from being nimble and take risks?
  • Should we think of Learners as consumers and work hard to get their business? Do you have any other ideas for business model?
  • What new skills will be required to adopt a new business model for L&D?

Disruptive Thoughts

  • Can we get rid of the L&D function by providing employee the required information and tools to find it. This is starting to sound like knowledge management.

Next Steps

  • Read Business Model Canvas to map business models. http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/


  • “Digital Disruption – Opportunity and Threat for L&D” – LearningCafe webinar recordinghttps://vimeo.com/153318403
  • Assumed Constraints and Elephant Thinking – LearningCafe bloghttp://bit.ly/1SJafpL


Jeevan Joshi LearningCafe Jeevan Joshi, Producer/ Founder at LearningCafe