Initiating a business requirement for learning offering

Hello E-learning Heroes,

I am planning to conduct a workshop in my organization on initiating a business requirement to create learning offerings. I have never done this before, and am badly in need of guidance. This is a new L&D team, and this workshop is going to be of value for them.

I am planning to cover these in the workshop:

  • How do we initiate and design a business requirement for a learning offering. How do we help stakeholders frame their requirement?
  • How do you start a stakeholder conversation – what kind of questions should you ask. 

Appreciate guidance on how I can go about this. Are there any white papers/bogs I can refer to? Has anyone done this before and can that story be shared?

Thank you for reading. Looking forward to your responses.


8 Replies
Allison LaMotte

Hi Indu,

I rounded up a couple of resources that may be useful to you:

Hopefully you'll find a lot of the answers you're looking for in those articles, but if not let me know! :) 

Indu Gopinath

Hi Allison,

These are great resources and I am already diving into them. Thanks much!

I also notice that these are very helpful after someone has approached you with a training request. I am also looking for guidance when you go the proactive way - approach a business/stakeholder and create a business requirement for learning. How do I initiate that conversation? One way I can think of is a dialog on what matters in their business and how confident they are that all their members are well-equipped to perform. Are there other ways of opening this dialog? Is there a better way of approach?

Any inputs on these would be great! Again, thanks a ton!

Allison LaMotte

Hi Indu,

I would approach them and ask if there are any performance issues (for example, low sales numbers) and then try and them talk to them about where they think those performance issues stem from.

For example: Are the sales numbers low because people aren't upselling? If so, why aren't they upselling? Do they not know which additional products to offer to the customer? If so, maybe the performance issue could be resolved by training their employees on which products to upsell to which type of customer.

Here's an article to help you analyze whether or not a performance issue can be resolved with training: Do’s and Don’ts of Performance Analysis

I hope that's helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions.


Dave Goodman

Some clarifications please: is your unit the centralized training department for the company? Do other business units have their own training staff? Are you the people others turn to for your knowledge or are you trying to generate work because of low volume?

Having stated my questions, here are some general "rules" and considerations:

1. are you and your staff ready and capable of having these conversations or is there some training that you might need first? EG - without looking, can you and each of your staff be able to recite the top3-5 business goals of the company as they appear in your financial/stockholders documents? If not, you need to start there. Do you and your staff have the mind, presence and communication ability to pull off your goals?

2. Develop some resources, blogs, meet & greet sessions for various units before you decide to talk to them. If they attend or participate, they will tell you of their pain/needs rather than you trying to do that homework as an outsider. Once you have some resources, e.g., Deloitte, Harvard, Stanford whitepapers that contain valuable research, send the links out to the business unit managers about one link every 2 weeks. Be consistent - they will expect to read something every Thursday morning from you. If your resources are good, they will come to you.

3. Relate what you have found from your resources and from training conferences to corporate goals, issues, outstanding problems, etc. Share that info - this is different from the university research. You need to state something like "one of our competitors in x industry initiated personalized learning on mobile devices. Is this something that you (the manager) might want to initiate for your unit? Would you like a 15 minute presentation on this subject and its value for your unit? You want to become the known guru for learning.

4. I would postpone your internal training workshop until you have these issues/resources ready to review with your team. Divide your team into learning staff and others acting as unit managers. Role play some dialogue. Have one person from outside your training group as an observer who provides un-biased feedback to the dialogues. Get some of this under your belt before you talk - make a great impression when you first start in on your business consulting. Your first internal client will become your reference point for the next manager. Good luck.

Enes Karahasanovic

Hi Indu,

in terms of pro-active way, I once conducted a workshop in a big company and invited all the crucial managers from whom I expect to get some kind of learning request. I basically presented them the power and possibilities of eLearning, making them aware that all of the biggest companies use this training method. Sometimes managers are scared or sceptical of using eLearning, so some statistical numbers and graphs give them a different perspective. Than I took 5 eLearning modules which were already created, and gave it to managers to browse. I finished off with a joint task where they recognized good points of eLearning. After the workshop I received a lot of new requests.