A good corporate university is one that focuses on strategy, results, and continuity in learning. If you are focused on these variables, you are most likely moving in the corporate university direction even if you do not call it such a name. Try not to get hung up on the name but on the concepts that make learning strategic.
Building a business case to determine if you should change anything about your organization's current approaches to learning and development is an important part of the corporate university process. CUE suggests exploring and assessing your current state to determine how you compare to best practices and standards in learning and development. That current state analysis should reveal your strengths and opportunities for improvement that may lead to a corporate university approach.
CUE's methodology for starting a corporate university begins with a Business Case and Mental Model to build a shared vision, transitions to a full Business Plan that builds the full operating model for the corporate university, and ends with a Launch Plan to define the resources (i.e. people, time, and funds) necessary to transition you from the current state to your launch date.
The corporate university model is simply a framework for organizations to provide strategic learning and development. Some arguments that criticize the corporate university model have been published recently. CUE believes that these arguments are rooted in misconceptions about corporate universities and some misuse of the term. As long as strategic learning and development are desired in organizations, the corporate university model is a viable approach.
An anchoring technology component to serve as a central system of record and as a launch pad and warehouse for electronically-delivered learning assets throughout an organization certainly makes for a uniform employee experience and facilitates data collection and reporting on the value that learning provides to the organization. You don't necessarily have to implement an LMS but having one will streamline manual processes, support end-user service, and facilitate reporting.
The corporate university model allows for different types of structures. Some companies find that a centralized model is appropriate. Others find that a federated approach is best. To decide, consider things like the rest of your organizational hierarchy, how important it is to keep learning close to your production floor, how many resources you can reasonably dedicate to training, the skills of the personnel who are in dedicated training roles, your budget, and your geographic distribution.
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