Learning Health: A Competitive Advantage

Learning Health: A Competitive Advantage

Organizations today need to learn more than ever before! Each organization must become a learning organization if it has to survive, sustain and grow. A learning organization has a compelling vision of employees skilled at “creating”, “acquiring”, “transferring”, and “applying” knowledge. Such learning organizations are more agile and have the ability to respond faster to changing environments compared to their competitors. As a result, they continuously deliver higher performance. They are quick to modify their behaviour to respond to those new knowledge and insights based on changing business conditions. Such organizations experiment to develop and test new products and services; gather intelligence to keep track of current and emerging business trends; and have a disciplined approach to analyze, interpret and solve business problems using new knowledge and insights. They are always looking for more efficient and effective ways to improve the capacity and capabilities of their employees.

The concept of a learning organization isn’t new. In the 90s, Peter Senge in his book, The Fifth Discipline, talked about learning disabilities of an organization and the impact it has. It is interesting that the words “whole” and “health” come from the same root (the Old English hal, as in “hale and hearty”). So it should come as no surprise that the unhealthiness of our learning today is in direct proportion to our inability to see it as a ‘whole’.

A holistic approach to learning requires a supportive learning environment that emphasizes psychological safety, appreciation of differences, openness to new ideas and time for reflection. It requires fit-for-purpose, concrete learning processes and practices, including experimentation, creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring, retaining and applying knowledge, and a leadership team that actively promotes and reinforces learning.


The rate at which organizations and individuals learn may well become the only sustainable competitive advantage.” – Ray Stata

In today’s workplace, where constant and rapid change is necessary to remain  competitive, the best strategy is to create multi- faceted and flexible learning ecosystems, educate the learner on being a smart consumer, set and maintain context, and get out of the learner’s way.

Learning fitness or learning health is your collective ‘abilities’ to perform. Organizations outperforming their competitors are seen to have a healthier learning ecosystem and are therefore more likely to:

◆ improve the capability of the organization to solve problems


◆ achieve benefits related to growth in the competitive climate


◆ respond faster to changing business conditions


◆ achieve overall productivity benefits, including improved talent strategies


◆ have improved sustainability and profitability including customer satisfaction

Measuring and managing your organizational learning health is critical. Many organizations are unaware of what’s broken and missing.

We are pleased to announce the launch of EdCast Learning Health Index (LHI) Research—a collaborative research on the learning health of organizations in India, with an aim to identify areas of excellence and opportunities for improving learning health within organizations. LHI scores would help benchmark the organization vis-a-vis its competitors. It’s a first-of-its-kind initiative in India that  aims  to provide key insights into the overall health of learning and development (L&D) in India. Learning Health is an organization’s  ‘collective ability’ to learn. Today, organizations are rethinking their overall capability building approach to make their employees future-ready, enhance performance and drive collaborative innovation. 



Nishchae Suri is President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa at EdCast. Prior to EdCast, Nishchae was a senior Partner with KPMG in India and Head of the KPMG Academy. He has over two decades of rich experience in areas of HR strategy & transformation, leadership & talent management, learning & development, and rewards, working with clients in over 25 countries. Nishchae joined KPMG from Mercer Consulting, where he was the MD and CEO for their India operations. He was also a Global Partner with Hewitt Associates.


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