Skip to content

Term of the Week: Learning Ecosystem

What is it?

The entirety of all the systems, resources, procedures, practices, and people that influence learning for an individual or group, including the interrelationships among these elements.

Why is it important?

In this age of self-directed learning and rapid change, the health of the learning ecosystem is critical. People learn more effectively and contribute more valuably if they can quickly access robust and relevant learning support.

Why does a business professional need to know this?

Leaders can exert considerable influence on the elements and qualities of a learning ecosystem in an organization, thereby affecting how efficiently and successfully people can develop their knowledge and skills.

A leader’s role is to selectively curate the components of the ecosystem, align them toward articulated goals, and troubleshoot any issues that arise. In shaping a learning ecosystem, leaders are very much like gardeners. They select what to plant, ensure adequate water and sunlight, boost nutrients, and prune here and there.

Leaders advocate for elements that enable learning and performance—from training and development programs to searchable databases to enterprise social networks and more. They ensure that people have access to the most useful and relevant resources and facilitate sharing of resources to help spread new knowledge and effective practices. They craft procedures and practices with an eye toward efficiency, productivity, and flexibility for change, and they align them to a common purpose. And leaders bring people together to learn from and with one another.

By managing all of these elements as part of an ecosystem instead of as unrelated pieces, leaders can create reinforcing loops that propel learning and development, positively affecting performance. Just as a biological ecosystem benefits from human intervention to nurture balance and counter destructive forces, the learning ecosystem benefits from a leader’s careful cultivation to support people’s growth.


About Catherine Lombardozzi

Photo of Catherine Lombardozzi

Catherine Lombardozzi is a lifelong learning and development practitioner and founder of Learning 4 Learning Professionals. Her work focuses on supporting the professional development of designers, facilitators, faculty, consultants, and learning leaders. She is the author of Learning Environments by Design.

Term: Learning Ecosystem



Twitter: @L4LP


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *