Most workplace learning is based on the concept that learning has to be designed; in fact that people won’t be able to learn something unless it has been structured into a logical sequence, developed professionally and delivered to them in some authoritative way. The industry is chock full of instructional designers and content developers whose work is focused on this way of learning.
There is clearly a need and a place for people to learn things that have been designed for them, but in fact most of what we learn happens without design – over 80% of what we learn in fact.
We learn all the time accidentally, unintentionally, unconsciously and/or serendipitously as we carry out our day to day work. We learn on our own and with others.
Is this type of learning less important or valuable than the learning that has been designed for us? Does our upbringing and education mean we only value the learning that comes from studying and memorization rather than the learning that comes from experiences?
Shouldn’t we be spending more time and effort in organizations helping people to “connect the dots” and “extract the learning” that comes from everyday work? If so, who should do this, and how should they operate? Charles Jennings provides some thoughts on this.
“HR, Talent and Learning professionals can play an important role in optimising the extraction of learning from work, but only if they position their professional skills as facilitators and supporters of improved performance rather than as managers of process and learning.”
Do you help people learn without design?