November in Review: Disruption

explosion-600477_640This month started with the sad news of the passing of Jay Cross, and since that time there have been many tributes to him. Ravi Pratap Singh, however, showed his appreciation by listing 20 Awesome Quotes From Jay Cross, which included this one …

The world is changing so fast that staying in one’s comfort zone is not an option.

And this fits well with the theme of this month’s review – disruption.

Firstly, it is becoming increasingly clear that the world of work is rapidly changing, for example …

In Your company needs independent workers, Jacob Morgan, talks about the the new “gig” or freelance economy, and  how this will have a big effect on organisations

“Attracting, retaining, and managing these highly skilled workers will require new ways of thinking about talent management and the role that external talent plays.”

In Think you’re important at work? A robot could probably do your L&D job, Ben Stiller explains

“Yes, advances in AI and the like will cause a big wave of automation, it says. But it won’t necessarily lead to job losses. Rather, many jobs will be redefined by technology, with the boring, rote stuff done by computers, and the exciting, creative stuff done by humans.”

So the question is, are the traditional ways of training people still appropriate anymore?

Stephen Gill, commenting on the recent Training Magazine’s Industry report, in Too Much Training; Not Enough Learning  states …

“it is disappointing to see the continuing substantial investment in “push” training. “Instructor-led classroom only” is still reported to be the primary method of employee learning and development. If we include “blended learning”, “virtual classroom/webcast only”, and “online or computer-based methods” in the mix, we see that companies are continuing to invest most in methods of learning that have the least payoff.”

However, there are others, as this GigaOm article shows who believe that the traditional approach to training needs to change – radically…

“Employee training is usually a profoundly unhelpful whirlwind. It’s a day or two stuffed full of information, most of which gets partially (if not completely) forgotten by the second or third week of the #grind.

It’s not that employers don’t try. I’m sure they do their level-best to make training helpful. After all, training and on-boarding employees is expensive, and high turnover rates and under-utilized employees are bad for business. But employee training is still begging for disruption. That’s exactly what Axonify aims to do.”

In fact, in You Don’t Work in Learning Anymore, Nick Shackleton Jones explains how he believes the role of L&D has already changed  …

“But now I think it is clear: either you are delivering engagement, or you are improving performance. There is no ‘learning’ role.”

And Guy Wallace puts it like this, in Even In A Learning Organization.

New frameworks and models, like 70-20-10, are helping organisations make significant changes to their approaches to workplace learning –  focusing now very much on performance. But, in 70:20:10 – A useful model, Harold Jarche makes a key point  …

.. the 70:20:10 model challenges the traditional domain of the Learning & Development (L&D) discipline. Many people in this field only work in formal education & training, most particularly designing courses. The reference model implicitly says, you are only being 10% effective in supporting learning at work. Of course many would react strongly against such a model.”

Arun Pradhan visualises the issue like this …


But it is clear that the future requires fundamental change, and this tweet from Matthias Nauwelaers sums it up very well …

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Jane Hart

Founder at C4LPT
Jane Hart is an independent workplace learning advisor, writer and international speaker, and is the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. She focuses on helping organisations with Modern Workplace Learning and individuals with Modern Professional Learning workshops. Find out more about Jane at