Organization
World Bank
Report Year
2015
1st MAR Year
2016
Accepted
Yes
Status
Active
Recommendation

Develop an Updated Strategy for Learning and Knowledge Sharing with the Institutional Accountabilities for the Implementation of that Strategy clearly identified:
- Develop an updated strategy for learning and knowledge sharing which ensures that the Bank makes optimal use of all relevant learning and knowledge a strategy that gives sufficient weight to behavioral drivers, and focuses, in particular, on: informal learning and tacit knowledge strong and visible incentives for staff learning and development outcomes, including the necessary time and budget for them the balance between global and local knowledge and project adaptiveness.
- Clearly identify the governance arrangements and institutional accountabilities for learning and knowledge, specifying who is accountable for what at each level, in order to ensure the effective implementation of the strategy.

Recommendation Adoption
IEG Rating by Year: mar-rating-popup SSNTNT Management Rating by Year: mar-rating-mng-popup SHNTNT
CComplete
HHigh
SSubstantial
MModerate
NNegligible
NANot Accepted
NRNot Rated
Findings Conclusions

The Bank has launched a series of knowledge and learning initiatives, including the Operational Core Curriculum. These important steps now need consolidating into a strategy that takes into account the important role of informal learning and tacit knowledge.
The recent reorganization of the World Bank has not created the governance structure needed to ensure that accountability for incorporating knowledge and learning into operations is clearly delineated.

Original Management Response

WB: Partially Agree. The report defines "learning" in a very broad way, encompassing a wide variety of topics that are already captured in operational policies and procedures, human resources policies and practices, and knowledge and learning related initiatives and approaches, including LLI's evolving role.
Management agrees it needs a more strategic approach to learning, but believes that it will be most effective to develop these strategic approaches within the guidance and business plans for each of the various topics covered by the evaluation. This will ensure stronger ownership by the respective business units.

Action Plans
Action 1
Action 1 Number:
0358-01
Action 1 Title:
Action 1a: Clarify the roles and accountabilities for all aspects of the learning agenda, as defined broadly by the IEG report.
Action 1 Plan:

Action 1a: Clarify the roles and accountabilities for all aspects of the learning agenda, as defined broadly by the IEG report.
Indicator: Informal CODE engagement to clarify roles and accountabilities.
Baseline: Lack of clarity regarding role and accountability for the learning agenda as broadly defined by the IEG report.
Target: An informal CODE briefing organized with key WB stakeholders involved in the learning agenda as broadly defined by IEG.
Timeline: Q2 FY16

Action 2
Action 2 Number:
0358-02
Action 2 Title:
Action 1b: Establish Staff Learning Governance
Action 2 Plan:

Action 1b: Establish Staff Learning Governance
Indicator: Learning governance is operational and effective in addressing its objectives, i.e. 1. align staff learning with business needs 2. instill strong learning culture 3. promote informal learning in addition to formal learning 4. develop a learning platform and ecosystem to support and modernize learning
Baseline: No formal governance for the Staff Learning Agenda.
Target: Specific target to be determined in Q3 FY16, but relating to incentives and alignment of learning with business needs
Timeline: Q4 FY16

Action 3
Action 3 Number:
0358-03
Action 3 Title:
Action 1c: KM Action Plan launched
Action 3 Plan:

KM Action Plan launched to address Banks knowledge content flow, incentives, connectivity, tools and technology, roles and responsibilities, and leadership

Action 4
Action 4 Number:
0358-04
Action 4 Title:
Action 1d: OLC used as a single learning ecosystem
Action 4 Plan:

OLC is used as a single learning ecosystem encompassing informal as well as formal learning

Action 5
Action 6
Action 7
Action 8
2019
IEG Update:
No Updates
Management Update:
No Updates
2018
IEG Update:
No Updates
Management Update:
No Updates
2017
IEG Update:

IEG considers the preparation of the Bank's Knowledge Management Action Plan and its recent Update as positive steps towards this recommendation. However, IEG notes that creating an organization where learning and knowledge sharing flourish, will require going beyond 'knowledge management.' The Bank is yet to spell out in sufficient detail how it aims to provide strong and visible incentives for staff learning and for the achievement of development outcomes, which IEG considers prerequisites for creating a learning organization.

Management Update:

Management provided an informal CODE briefing in November 2015 that clarified roles, responsibilities and governance arrangements for the Learning Agenda, as broadly defined by the IEG report on Learning and Results. Management made clear its intent to develop a consolidated, systemic approach to learning that ties together the many dimensions of learning. Four dimensions were highlighted in particular: (i) Operations - to ensure that we systematically learn from and through all of our operational engagements (ii) Learning - to ensure that formal and informal learning opportunities are strategic and aligned to business needs (iii) Human Resources - to ensure that staff mobility is a key driver of the organization's global reach, knowledge and expertise and (iv) Institutional Oversight - to ensure that independent and external views inform learning at the institutional level. Management also emphasized that this effort will require long-term commitment and phased implementation. Four areas were identified for priority attention. Establish new Staff Learning governance, with four objectives - align learning with business needs - strengthen incentives for learning - promote use of informal learning in addition to formal learning - develop the ecosystem and infrastructure for learning Promote optimal use of informal learning and tacit knowledge - capture and disseminate tacit knowledge through library of bite-size learning - adopt and implement a new framework for mentoring - strengthen behavioral skills of staff to promote team learning Adjust incentives to promote learning and development outcomes - strengthen mobility of staff through adoption of career development framework - improve assessment of project outcomes through better guidance on ICR - strengthen Monitoring & Evaluation skills of staff through dedicated training Balance the focus on global and local knowledge - seek systematic client feedback on balance between local and global knowledge - systematically monitor knowledge flows Promote adaptiveness - systematically learn from implementation and delivery through library of science of delivery cases With the dissolution of LLI at end-FY16 and appointment of a Knowledge Management Director, new efforts are currently underway to shape the Bank's strategic approach to learning and knowledge management more precisely, including revised governance arrangements and institutional accountabilities.

Excellent progress has been made with implementation of key elements of the agenda agreed in FY16, including actions to address underlying issues of incentives and systems.

- The VPU-level Learning Steering Group (LSG), which now provides oversight for all Bank staff learning, was expanded to include representation from the Finance complex, along with the Operational complex, BPS, and HRD.

- The LSG focused on the issue of learning received in FY17. Both variable cost spending and participant training days have declined markedly since FY12-13. TO try and reverse this trend, the LSG established and communicated to all VPUs a minimum level of time and budget to spend on staff learning in FY18. This was included in the budget distribution instructions to all Bank VPUs along with a suggested communication plan to inform staff.

- A new Bank Procedure was also issued in July 2017 to guide staff learning. It covers use of funds, incentives, stressing informal and knowledge sharing beyond formal learning options, and behavioral expectations for staff and managers in learning and career development conversations.

- Staff learning has been aligned with the WBG's FY17-19 People Strategy, and fully integrated in the Career Development Framework, including the new Individual Development Plan being rolled out in FY18 and performance and career conversations between management and staff.

- Detailed guidance on Formal and Informal learning, and staff/manager learning plan conversations will be published in September 2017, along with further awareness raising and change management activities.

The launch of the Open Learning Campus (OLC) in 2016 introduced a single learning ecosystem that is being expanded progressively to encompass informal and formal learning within one environment. Informal learning assets are curated and presented through WBTalks, one of three "schools" of learning within the OLC, and can lead interested learners to other programs, both formal and informal. To encourage ongoing learning, collaborative learning is supported through WBConnect and its communities of practice and peer-learning programs. Promoting access to informal learning was further enhanced in February 2017 with the launch of the OLC Mobile App on Apple and Android devices, bringing Talks content and the Learning Catalog directly to hand-held devices. Other notable features of the OLC include: (i) bite-sized learning which allows for just-in-time learning opportunities (ii) monitoring and reporting on mentoring programs by integrating Chronus with OLC and (iii) ensuring that learning delivered meets individual and business needs by gathering feedback and conducting follow-up evaluations. Ongoing work includes a new staff learning menu to make it easier to find learning and other innovations to improve learning effectiveness provision of pedagogical and packaging support to the 7 pillars of learning endorsed by the LSG with a focus on formal and informal learning curricula aligned to emerging business priorities, collaboration with all GPs to design curricula for joint client and staff learning, and revitalization of the M&E system to reflect industry best practices.

Work on the knowledge management dimensions of the strategic learning approach is also advancing, and was explained to the Board at a Board Seminar in January 2017. A Knowledge Management Action Plan (KMAP) will be launched in FY18. The KMAP has been informed by multiple diagnostics, as well as learning from experiments (e.g. Pre-Design Knowledge Package, Hand-over Checklist and After-Action Reviews, Quality Enhancement Reviews) to embed operational Knowledge into the Project Cycle Learning from experiments to embed operational Knowledge into the Project Cycle. It proposes actions to address six issues: Content Flow, Incentives, Connectivity, Tools and Technology, Roles and Responsibilities, and Leadership. See the MAR Update for the Knowledge-Based Country Program evaluation for more details. Management will provide further updates to the Board on the KMAP and overall learning agenda in FY18.

2016
IEG Update:

IEG notes the Bank's "intent to develop a consolidated, systemic approach to learning that ties together the many dimensions of learning," and that "new efforts are currently underway to shape the Bank's strategic approach to learning more precisely, including revised governance arrangements and institutional accountabilities...". A self-assessment that shows that the learning agenda is well-defined, and that it gives sufficient weight to the behavioral drivers of learning and knowledge sharing, informal learning and tacit knowledge, incentives for staff learning and development outcomes (including time and budgets), global and local knowledge, and project adaptiveness would be helpful. In addition, a staff survey that shows that there is good understanding among Bank staff about the learning agenda would also be helpful.

Management Update:

On Action 1a, Management provided an informal CODE briefing in November 2015 that clarified roles, responsibilities and governance arrangements for the Learning Agenda, as broadly defined by the IEG report on Learning and Results. Management made clear its intent to develop a consolidated, systemic approach to learning that ties together the many dimensions of learning. Four dimensions were highlighted in particular: (i) Operations - to ensure that we systematically learn from and through all of our operational engagements (ii) Learning - to ensure that formal and informal learning opportunities are strategic and aligned to business needs (iii) Human Resources - to ensure that staff mobility is a key driver of the organization's global reach, knowledge and expertise and (iv) Institutional Oversight - to ensure that independent and external views inform learning at the institutional level. Management also emphasized that this effort will require long-term commitment and phased implementation. Four areas were identified for priority attention.
Establish new Staff Learning governance, with four objectives
- align learning with business needs
- strengthen incentives for learning
- promote use of informal learning in addition to formal learning
- develop the ecosystem and infrastructure for learning
Promote optimal use of informal learning and tacit knowledge
- capture and disseminate tacit knowledge through library of bite-size learning
- adopt and implement a new framework for mentoring
- strengthen behavioral skills of staff to promote team learning
Adjust incentives to promote learning and development outcomes
- strengthen mobility of staff through adoption of career development framework
- improve assessment of project outcomes through better guidance on ICR
- strengthen Monitoring & Evaluation skills of staff through dedicated training
Balance the focus on global and local knowledge
- seek systematic client feedback on balance between local and global knowledge
- systematically monitor knowledge flows
Promote adaptiveness
- systematically learn from implementation and delivery through library of science of delivery cases
With the dissolution of LLI at end-FY16 and recent appointment of a Knowledge Management Director, new efforts are currently underway to shape the Bank's strategic approach to learning more precisely, including revised governance arrangements and institutional accountabilities, while advancing implementation of key elements of the agenda agreed in FY16, including underlying issues of incentives and systems. Much of the latter agenda was explained to the Board during a Board Seminar in June 2016, which emphasized the knowledge management dimensions of the strategic learning approach. Management will provide further updates on the learning agenda in FY17Q3.
On Action 1b, the learning agenda covered in the IEG evaluation spans four areas of World Bank governance, reflecting specialized roles across the four dimensions of learning: (i) Operations Council for learning from operations (ii) Learning Steering Group for individual and team learning, including client learning (iii) People Leadership Committee to monitor, discuss and advise on HR issues and (iv) a variety of governance mechanisms, including the Board of Directors, for Institutional Learning.