Work is changing, and as a consequence Jacob Morgan believes that one of the principles of the future employee (see infographic to the left) will be the shift from being a “knowledge worker” to being a “learning worker”.
‘Knowledge is a commodity, to be the smartest person in the room all you need is a smartphone. What is far more valuable than knowledge is the ability to learn new things and apply those learnings to new scenarios and environments. This is what the employee of the future needs to focus on, “learning to learn.”’
So what does this mean for an organisation?
It means that it is no longer about knowing stuff; but continuously learning stuff – so there needs to be a shift from creating stuff (for “knowledge transfer”) to supporting the “learning worker” – not just by providing (e-)training opportunities but also by developing the new learning skills required to thrive in the organisation.
It means that continuous learning no longer comes from taking a series of (e-)training courses – but requires a new mindset where the individual is always open to new learning opportunities – wherever they might be, e.g. on the Web or through work-based experiences.
It means that continuous learning is a key ingredient of daily work, not separate from it – as Harold Jarche reminds us
“Work is learning and learning is the work”
It means that workplace learning is no longer the sole responsibility of the L&D department – as Harold also points out ..
“We have come to a point where organizations can no longer leave learning to their HR or training departments.”
It means that workplace learning is no longer just about providing designed learning initiatives but promoting self-organised learning – and that includes managers providing new opportunities for experiential learning so their people can develop on a continuous basis.
It means individuals learning and teaching at will – as Jacob Morgan explains
“The traditional way to learn and teach was largely guided and dictated by organizations who set out training programs, manuals, and set courses. Technology has connected employees and information together anywhere, anytime, and on any device. This means that learning and teaching can happen between employees without official corporate training programs or manuals. Have a question? Tap into the collective intelligence of your company. Want to show someone how to do something? Whip out your smartphone, film it, and upload it to your organization’s collaboration platform for your peers to see.”
It means a fundamental shift in the way organisations interpret the concept of “workplace learning”.
How is your organisation supporting the ‘learning worker”?
Note: These materials are part of the draft of my Modern Workplace Learning resource book