Press Release

New Model Helps L&D Professionals Meet the Needs of Modern Learners


(Alexandria, VA) June 30, 2020—In Designing for Modern Learning: Beyond ADDIE and SAM (ATD Press, June 2020), L&D experts Crystal Kadakia and Lisa M.D. Owens introduce the Owens-Kadakia Learning Cluster Design (OK-LCD) model to address the question of how L&D professionals can better design for modern learning.

In a world where learning is needed every day, the role of L&D is more important than ever, but the toolkit used by L&D professionals is outdated and incomplete. The expectations and realities of today’s learning environment are far more complex than traditional instructional design models were intended for. The holistic answer to learning in the modern workplace is the OK-LCD model. Owens states, “We believe that the OK-LCD model is more compatible with our current context of learning and working within a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. The model has greater potential to help learning professionals make a bigger impact with modern learning design.”

Developed and iterated over the past five years, the model is grounded in the fields of instructional systems development, neuroscience, cognitive and developmental psychology, and organization development. The OK-LCD model does not replace other ID models that guide L&D in how to create effective learning from start to finish; in fact, these models should still be used to design specific learning assets. But modern learning is about continuous, daily learning, across the flow of work, which is where OK-LCD comes in.

The model is based on four principles:

  • Go beyond one-and-done: Create multiple planned and unplanned learning assets across the flow of work—not just one asset, such as an event- or cohort-based course or class— to build employee capability.
  • Design the whole, not the parts: Design a strategically integrated set of learning assets—coined “learning clusters”— as opposed to designing random assets that don’t consider the impact of one asset on the others.
  • Focus on learner needs: Rather than focusing on what L&D can do (and most often does), focus on delivering learning assets for when, where, and how the learners need learning.
  • Change on-the-job behavior: Target the design to improve specific performance on the job where it counts, rather than only committing to knowledge and skills during a learning program.

OK-LCD is more than a philosophy and is composed of five Actions that L&D professionals can use to design learning clusters:
C: Change On-the-Job Behavior
L: Learn Learner-to-Learner-Differences
U: Upgrade Existing Assets
S: Surround Learners With Meaningful Assets
T-ER: Track Transformation of Everyone’s Results.

“If you approach a learning project as designing training and enabling knowledge acquisition, then you are living by time-honored, traditional instructional development principles and assumptions,” says Kadakia. “However, if instead you approach a learning project as designing and facilitating access to a wide variety of learning assets, and as empowering and measuring behavior change in the workplace, then you are living by the principles embedded in the Owens-Kadakia Learning Cluster Design model—and you are seamlessly connecting learners with the resources trainers need to change behavior on the job to deliver the desired business results.”


About the Authors

Lisa M.D. Owens is a learning expert who combines her engineering mindset with her deep interest in instructional design and learning sciences to create training that moves business forward. During her Procter & Gamble career, Owens was the leading training professional, with a broad range of cutting-edge internal programs. Since retiring from P&G, she co-authored Leaders as Teachers Action Guide; Your Career: How to Make It Happen, 9th edition; and Lo Start-Up Di Una Corporate University (Italian). Since 2009, she has served annually as a learning awards judge, including for ATD BEST and CLO ELITE. She holds a bachelor of chemical engineering from Georgia Tech as well as a master’s in education. She worked at the Savannah River nuclear facility before joining P&G in 1977 as a process design and construction engineer; in 1992 she took on full-time global training responsibilities at P&G. She was lead instructional designer for a nation-wide youth leadership training camp in use since 2003 in the United States and since 2006 in China.

Crystal Kadakia is a two-time TEDx speaker and organizational consultant, known for transforming the toughest digital age workplace challenges into exciting possibilities. As a consultant, she helps leaders reimagine and change people strategies in areas such as inclusion, organizational structure, leadership development, remote management, and employee engagement. One example of her work to challenge the status quo is how she has changed the story around generations through her bestselling book, The Millennial Myth: Transforming Misunderstanding into Workplace Breakthroughs (Berrett-Koehler 2017), and keynotes, reaching thousands. She is honored to be a Power 30 Under 30, CLO Learning in Practice, and ATD One to Watch Award recipient. Her academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s in organization development.


About ATD and ATD Press

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD Press publications are written by industry thought leaders and offer anyone who works with adult learners the best practices, academic theory, and guidance necessary to move the profession forward. For more information, visit

Designing for Modern Learning: Beyond ADDIE and SAM
ISBN: 9781950496655 | 200 Pages | Paperback | Digital
To order books from ATD Press, call 800.628.2783.

To schedule an interview with Crystal Kadakia or Lisa M.D. Owens, please contact Kay Hechler, ATD Press senior marketing manager, at [email protected].

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