From training to learning: The reengineering of training at DMR Group Inc.
DMR Group Inc. is the leading Canadian provider of information technology consulting services. Since one of its strategic objectives is the development of new markets, its service offering had to be expanded. With this aim, an ambitious R&D project called DMR Macroscope was launched to develop new methods of information technology management consulting, along with their associated techniques and tools, representing thousands of hours of in-class training to be given to more than 2,000 consultants and the highest possible number of external clients.
The organizational constraints are considerable: very complex, constantly evolving content, a high rate of personnel movement, tight deadlines and even more restricted budgets, a resource shortage, and a strong tradition of in-class training, not to mention the fact that DMR operates in an international market. Such constraints give rise to an organizational context so complex that traditional training can no longer provide solutions. The issues are critical and the risk high. Once the tensions generated by such a situation reach the breaking point, organizations are forced to undergo a paradigm shift. Sweeping change is necessary, but the transition is difficult. It gradually becomes apparent that training represents the foremost strategic leverage.
Faced with this reality, DMR Group Inc. decided to reengineer its training vision and organization, moving from the role of a training organization to that of a learning organization. A new learning infrastructure was fashioned around the basic theories and research findings in the field of education. This infrastructure affects the entire organization by placing learners at the center of the system and equipping them with a collection of instructional resources adapted to their personal learning paths, with everything being based on the acquisition of competencies defined in the R&D project.
This article will introduce DMR's learning system as a case study that will illustrate how reengineering training contributed to an organizational solution. The learning system will be explained from a management perspective, with a description of organizational problems, constraints of training engineering, and the new architecture developed, as well as provide participants with the keys they need to develop such a system.