It is now very clear to me, that the world of L&D is splitting in two. There are those who think that the old ways of training are still valid and sufficient for today’s workforce, and there are those who realise that the world has moved on and a new approach to supporting workplace learning is essential.
The first group of L&D professionals I refer to as Traditionalists, since they cling onto 20th century views of Training & Development:
- They focus on classroom training and/or e-learning as the only valid way to transfer knowledge into people’s heads. They specialise in creating content using e-learning authoring tools, and managing it in a LMS.
- They fit new ideas into old practices – informal learning becomes informalized training, social learning is seen as adding social media to courses, and the 70-20-10 framework is seen as a training model (ie they just add coaching and experiential learning to organised training programmes) rather than a model for workplace learning in general.
- They believe they know what is best for their people; they think that an understanding of pedagogy and instructional design skills is enough. They disregard the fact that most people are bored to tears sitting in a classroom or studying an e-learning course at their desktop – and don’t realise that many are working around L&D to sort out their own learning and performance problems rather than have to endure an L&D-designed initiative.
- They miss the big picture – the fact that learning is much more than courses, but involves continuously acquiring new knowledge and skills as part of everyday work. But if they do, they see themselves as gatekeepers to knowledge, and believe they must track and manage it all in their LMS. They don’t realise this is an impossible and irrelevant task because it’s not about recording activity – its about understanding its impact on individual, team and business performance.
- They reject the wisdom of the crowd – they believe “social” is something to be controlled rather than encouraged, as they don’t trust their people to share what they know, and believe they have to control its accuracy and quality. Whilst, of course sharing experiences is exactly what individuals have been doing in their teams since time immemorial, and, in doing so, learning effortlessly from one another as they go about their daily work.
- They don’t recognise the world has changed – and that workplace learning is no longer about organising and managing top-down (e-)training – it’s about recognising that today’s worker needs to be constantly acquiring new skills and knowledge in many different ways – most of which they will organise and manage themselves.
The second group of L&D professionals – that I refer to as Modern Workplace Learning (MWL) practitioners – understand the realities of the new world of work, and that their own activities need to change to reflect this.
- They are rejecting the creation of expensive, sophisticated e-learning content and preferring to build short, flexible, modern resources (where required) that people can access when they need them. AND they are also encouraging social content (or employee-generated content) – particularly social video – because they know that people know best what works for them.
- They are ditching their LMS (or perhaps just hanging on to it to manage some regulatory training) – because they recognise it is a white elephant – and it doesn’t help them understand the only valid indicator of learning success, how performance has changed and improved.
- They are moving to a performance-driven world – helping groups find their own solutions to problems – ones that they really need, will value, and actually use, and recognise that these solutions are often ones they organise and manage themselves.
- They are working with managers to help them develop their people on the ground – and see the success of these initiatives in terms of impact on job performance.
- They are helping individuals take responsibility for their own learning and personal development – so that they continuously grow and improve, and hence become valuable employees in the workplace
- They are supporting teams as they work together using enterprise social platforms – in order to underpin the natural sharing within the group, and improve team learning.
So how can we help traditional L&D folk become MWL Practitioners? It’s not about telling them to keep up! We need to help them EXPERIENCE the new world of learning for themselves so that they are in the best position to help their organisation move forward
This is one of the reasons why I am running the 2016 L&D CHALLENGE. Although it will start officially in February, those signing up will have an opportunity to get started straightaway. So, if you know of anyone you think might benefit from it, please pass them this link where they can find out more about it.
— Bob Mosher (@bmosh) November 12, 2015
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