The best of August 2015

august-706936_640Here are links to some of the posts and articles I shared on Twitter in August – with some quotes from each. If you’re not on Twitter you can subscribe to them by email.

There are 4 key themes this month, and the reason I chose them, is because these are exactly the topics I discuss in my new book, Modern Workplace Learning (available 1 October).

1 – Revamping Training

There are now many people writing about the need to revamp training. Here are just two from last month.

First, Donna Wells (Inc, 6 August) describes the way that individuals are consuming information nowadays, and how this needs to be reflected in training. She calls this The Netflix Effect on Training.

“The way the world consumes content has changed. We’re no longer content to “stay tuned for next week’s episode” and instead insist on our right to binge-watch an entire season of Orange is the New Black in one sitting. Our expectations for the nature of content have also changed. We skip branded advertisements to spend hours consuming the authentic user generated content we actually trust. Finally, we’re filtering through an unprecedented volume of content. Every week the average US consumer spends 60 hours consuming content choosing from the 1.8 billion photos or videos shared, 500 million tweets posted, and the 700 million vanishing Snapchats created every 24 hours …

“It’s time that the training industry, as significant content creators and distributors, recognized and embraced this fundamental change in how our employees and customers prefer to consume content. It’s time to let go of “old school” approaches to content creation and delivery such as on-site classrooms, lifeless webinars and content created within the “ivory tower” and offer training that is digital, socially accessible, authentic, personally relevant and self-paced.”

Secondly, Christo Popov (30 August) In Why Your Employee Training Is A Waste Of Time And Money — And What To Do About It,  provides a number of other ways to “fix the problems” including

“Spend less, not more. Successful training doesn’t require millions of dollars. Using more effective methods will reduce what you spend. You do, however, need to commit time to implementation, repetition and assessment of what you’ve learned for several months after the initial training session—or your training won’t work.”

2 – Stop calling people learners!

This is something I’ve long promoted – and we’ve had Twitter chats about it too. This was the topic of Marc Rosenberg monthly column in Learning Solutions Magazine, Don’t Call Them Learners! (11 August). He writes

“What’s wrong with calling them learners? Because that’s not who they really are!

CEOs don’t refer to their employees as learners. Customers don’t call their sales reps learners (and sales reps don’t call their customers learners). Front-line supervisors don’t gather their people together and begin meetings with “I want to thank all you learners for coming.””

Mark Britz picked up on this article, and in Changing Words. Changing Practices. Changing Culture. Part II (13 August), asked what would happen if L&D dropped the name “learner” from their vocabulary and used words like worker and employee?

“I suspect (hope?) the process of changing of words, changes the practices, changes the culture begins. … The L&D practice would become more about helping workers do their jobs. It becomes a bigger focus on the employees needs and their context not L&D’s traditional delivery approach and systems. Workflow solutions, performance support, informal learning opportunities and coaching and mentoring rise, while classrooms, training and courses fall.

3 – Self-directed learning

In August there were a number of articles that focused on the topic of self-directed learning.

In What a Student Learned From a Short Experiment in Self-Directed Learning, Jenny Brundin (21 August, Mindflash) explained how Nick Bain wasn’t getting a lot out of school, so decided to spend the final trimester of his junior year learning on his own. He’d take the same tests and write the same essays as other students, but wouldn’t attend class, and he’d be graded on a pass/fail basis. It would be a self-taught and self-paced journey. And Nick journaled along the way …

“Nick experimented with different ways to learn. First he tried to learn a bit of a subject every day. That didn’t go so well. Then he asked, “What if I spent 10 hours a day on one subject?”

Eventually, he found that being steeped in one subject all day led to more learning.

He figured that out one day at the Denver Botanic Gardens while reading Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days — in French.”

But why is self-directed learning so important nowadays? Because, as Jacob Morgan (27 August, Forbes) explains in we can no longer rely only on schools & companies for professional & personal development

“The world has changed and it’s up to us as individuals (and as companies) to make sure that we can change too. Organizations must enable employees by deploying the right technologies to connect people and by supporting employees and allowing them learn outside of the company. Individuals must get rid of all excuses and understand that they can learn anything they want anytime they want to learn it.”

4 – Organisational culture

Finally, two posts about changing organisational cultures.

Firstly, Harold Jarche offered an extract from his new e-book, Adapting to Perpetual Beta in a blog post (18 August), network leadership = adapting to perpetual beta …

“When people work at a distance, in time or space, an implicit shift occurs. They have to be trusted to get the work done. Management also shifts from measuring time to measuring results. A new culture emerges. It becomes more trusting. Trust is the glue that holds creative organizations together, not rules and regulations.”

Secondly, Google’s Collaboration Research, conducted in the USA in early 2015 (and shared on 26 August) describes 4 collaboration cultures. These are neatly identified in the infographic below. Which category does your organisation fit into?

Finally, a reminder of my own blog posts in August 2015:

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