Learning Agility: fact and fiction

4 mn de lecture


"Learning Agility is often analyzed through the prism of the individual, in particular, to detect high potential, as in the classic HIPO metric. However, at LearnAssembly we hold the belief that learning agility must also be assessed from an organizational standpoint."


LearnAssembly held a breakfast event focusing on the theme of learning agility on Tuesday, December 11. In addition to Learning Experience Designer Emilie Canet and LearnAssembly Co-founder Antoine Amiel, about thirty participants took part in these discussions of trendy, up-to-the-minute themes: learning to learn and today’s learning companies. Overall, the morning amounted to a highly enriching experience that was warmly received.


For the past few months, LearnAssembly teams have regularly fielded questions on the subject of learning agility. This highly-regarded learning metric certainly is on everyone’s minds. The goal for employers is clear: providing team members with the means to improve their employability by helping them learn greater adaptation skills in a constantly changing world through the pursuit of lifelong learning habits. 85% of the jobs anticipated for 2030 haven’t even been invented yet (1). Only by developing their learning agility can team members be truly ready to adapt to this ever-changing environment.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Alvin Toffler

Whether we look to Korn Ferry’s definition from 2011 or the Center for Creative Leadership’s version from 2014 (2), learning ability is characterized in the same way: an open-mindedness about learning from past experiences and applying these lessons to other contexts. Learning agility is both a set of best practices to set into place and a mindset to adopt.

Learning Agility is often analyzed through the prism of the individual, in particular, to detect high potential, as in the classic HIPO metric.

However, at LearnAssembly we hold the belief that learning agility must also be assessed from an organizational standpoint. Indeed, learning agility should not solely be the responsibility of the individual, but also be centered on the surrounding work environment. At LearnAssembly, we consider that the overall agility of an organization should not be measured solely by the sum of agility in individuals. The community must also serve as a lever to develop the agility of a company.


The environment, i.e. management, corporate culture, maturity and organization are all factors that must be taken into account in evaluating learning agility. Thus, the essential question becomes: “Does our work environment allow individuals to effectively develop learning agility?” In fact, it’s important to consider Learning Agility through two key factors: ability and motivation.

To equip the individual with full ability and motivation, Learning Agility must be built on four cornerstones: learning processes and tools, learning opportunities, learning culture, and learning vision. Growth mindset, Knowledge Management, reflexivity, error culture, and more; the mindset and habits from these four cornerstones must be reviewed at every level of the organization—individual, manager and company-wide—in order to improve the agility of the entire community.

How does your own learning agility measure up? Discover LearnAssembly’s very own test, designed to gauge your own Learning Agility and that of your organization.



All departments at a company are at play, as illustrated by CITI when the company adopted the “3E” framework of Experience, Exposure and Education. Specifically, the company launched a 30-day challenge that called on 5,000 employees to implement daily micro-actions in an effort to improve their learning agility. In as little as ten minutes, the team members were given the opportunity to interact for the first time with a colleague or to share useful advice. The managers were also able to share and reflect through the use of cards containing three questions, in order to facilitate communication during the one-to-one exchanges.

Source : Center for Learning & Performance Technologies

Regardless of the organization or individual, learning agility cannot be the sole responsibility of one of the two parties. A communal effort must take place to modify the overall mindset of the company and its team members in order to put learning agility at the heart of how things work, both individually and as a whole.

Activating the levers of motivation and ability of the individual, promoting empowerment and autonomy in learning, making the manager an active player in this movement, and developing the learning vision of an organization—four steps that will put your company on the path towards greater agility and adaptability in a world that calls for us to rise to ever-growing challenges.

(1) Report – Institute for the Future and Dell – 2017

(2) Center for Creative Leadership, 2014: “The ability to remain open to new ways of thinking and to endlessly learn new skills, knowledge and situations is both a mindset and a set of habits.”

Korn Ferry, 2011: “The ability to learn from experiences and apply this learning to finding success in new situations.”

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