Learning in the Modern Workplace is more than training or e-learning

banner-939233_640I think I have now pinned down the main reason why some people could not understand the points I was making in my post, The L&D world is splitting in two.

It’s because Traditionalists see LEARNING purely as something to be designed, delivered and managed – in the form of some classroom training or e-learning – and LEARNERS as people who take these courses, classes, programmes, etc.

Whereas of course, we actually learn in many other ways at work, as I pointed out in my blog post on Everyday Workplace Learning.

“Everyday learning is the learning that takes place everyday as individuals do their jobs – individually or working with their internal colleagues, as well as connecting with others in (online) professional networks and channels. It’s about continuously acquiring small pieces of information or skills (often unconsciously) that over time build up into a large body of knowledge or experience, which means an individual becomes proficient in their job and knowledgeable about their industry or profession.

Although this type of learning is very different from traditional learning where knowledge and skills are acquired through a conscious process of studying in the classroom or online (e-learning) – everyday learning is essential, for it is through this type of learning that most people learn how to do their job and improve.”

When we learn in this way everyday, we don’t refer to ourselves as LEARNERS, we are just people!

So although Traditionalists see their role as designing, delivering and managing (e-)training – and take on a command and control position in the organisation,  the work of  MWL Practitioners is both to provide modern, relevant training and promote everyday learning – in other words enabling and supporting all the ways people learn in the organisation. This is the big Mindset Chasm that needs to be crossed.

Want to find out more, my Modern Workplace Learning book is now available.


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  3. Alan Bellinger

    Hi Jane
    Whilst I fully support everything you;re saying here, I wonder if I’m able to throw a little more light on the issue of crossing the mind-set chasm.

    For years, Training Managers have had a single focus – to deliver content – and therefore the selection of that content, along with putting it into context, and delivering it in an engaging way has been their main preoccupation. In other words, they’re dealing with a single variable – content.

    Now they have multiple variables – learner pull versus trainer push; multi-channel versus single channel; integrating learning and work; community facilitation; cross function collaboration etc. And one of the biggest challenges of all – having to deal with the IT department!

    So ……. what I believe I’m arguing here is that, it’s not that the L&D Professionals who haven’t crossed the chasm are being Luddite; rather they are having to come a long way from their comfort zone. That’s why I believe your book is so important right now – it provides help to make that journey viable. I’m convinced that the critical point for people right now is not WHETHER to cross the chasm but HOW to do it.

    1. Hi Alan, thanks for posting – I think they first need to “get” it – ie recognise that learning in the workplace is more than training and e-learning – and then as you say put it into practice, which is how I am helping orgs, and write about in my book. Although, as others have pointed out, most of the people who make a living selling “courses” and crap like “ROI of training” and MBTI would of course feel threatened by what I said. They probably didn’t misunderstand it, they just didn’t like t.

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