Whichever tool is used, the systems thinking approach really helps to clarify what is going on and what could be done to make things better. When looking at performance problems, systems thinking makes it much easier to identify more holistic solutions, which take into consideration how factors in the workplace may hinder or support the effectiveness of formal training.
The end result is a set of initiatives which have a much higher chance of being successful, but what does this success look like?
Firstly, there is an increased emphasis on integrating formal and informal learning. Formal learning is good at communicating standard, official policies, but informal learning is much more effective at helping people learn how to deal with the infinite variety of things which happen in the workplace. Integrating the two is very powerful.
Secondly, a systemic approach to needs analysis helps the analyst to take aim closer look at the operational context, helping to design solutions which can be used more easily and which will be effective.
Thirdly, the operational context is constantly changing, and systemic approaches recognise this. The analysis will therefore find solutions which are flexible and can deal with changing circumstances.
Finally, systemic thinking encourages a greater use of social learning in both formal and informal solutions. Social learning promotes discussion and an enhanced level of understanding of the subject amongst a group of people rather than within individuals.