LearnTrends: Reinventing Organizational Learning

These are my live blogged notes from Jay Cross & Clark Quinn’s LearnTrends session on Reinventing Organizational Learning. My side comments in italics. Update: The recording of this session (and the rest of LearnTrends) is now available.

Article they wrote for CLO mag: “Become a Chief Meta-Learning Officer”

Need to be more agile & change

If you don’t know the solution & need to network/collaborate to find it, that’s learning

Internet Learning Alliance: They were all working independently, decided to work together and practice what they preach. I don’t really think they were working independently–they were working in parallel. Lots of parallel conversations in all their blogs, with clear interaction & influence between them. Harold says “parallel but not coordinated”

“20 pounds of crap and only a 5 pound bag” Jay makes me smile. He is totally authentic online–he shows who he really is, take it or leave it

Clark: “we’re the people who’ve retained our love of learning despite our education”

View from the balcony–what you can’t see when you’re too close to the ground

We are going through a total shift in worldview–not world as machine, world as biosphere. We can blame this on networks

How networks evolve: hierarchies are crumbling, rate of change much faster–we don’t know what’s coming next

What is the Chief Meta-learning officer to do when we don’t know what’s coming?

  • Broaden definition of learning
  • increase learner population
  • improve learning process
  • expand venues

Broaden definition: not just formal. Learning professionals haven’t gotten a seat at the table b/c they haven’t earned it–focus is too narrow

Learner Population: We thought of businesses as walled off. Now that businesses are ecosystems, we should be training customers, vendors, etc. 2/3 of CLOs have no involvement in customer learning, partner/supply chain learning. We focus too much on novices. With high performers, if you improve performance 1%, big impact.

Learning Process: Shift from push to pull, empower learners to find their own stuff. More about setting up conduit for content, not the content itself. Novices need more formal learning; Practitioners need to fill in the gaps mostly with informal; Experts’ main job is informally sharing what they know

Expand Venues: Push –> Pull. Mobile learning–most impt is making sure people have the tech. Most CLOs don’t think CoPs do their jobs at all.

Hallmarks of Future Work

  • Curriculum –> competency
  • Clockwork, predictable –> Complexity, surprising
  • Stocks –> Flows
  • Clock time –> Time to accomplishment
  • Learning –> Just do it

What makes a really effective learning organization?

  • supportive learning environment
    • psychological safety: safe to share–org culture
    • appreciation of differences
    • openness to new ideas
    • time for reflection–lets you improve process, therefore outcomes
    • These things don’t just happen–you have to take responsibility for creating this kind of culture
  • Concrete Learning Processes & Practices
    • Information collection & analysis
    • Experimentation–have to try things and see what tools work
    • Education & Training
    • You can’t just assume processes will work; you have to scaffold & support them.
  • Leadership that reinforces learning
    • Explicitly acknowledge
    • Align incentives
    • Model learning for others

ADDIE is content centric. Jay says obsolete b/c things aren’t predictable anymore–SMEs don’t know what will be important to know. No fixed alternative to ADDIE b/c depends on ecosystem/learnscape

Clark says ADDIE is a process, there will be a role for it (I think–I may be misrepresenting what he said)

Experimentation should still have a process, shouldn’t just be random–have to have a way to figure out what works & have a systematic process. Problem is that we need a new process; ADDIE has been too much for formal learning

Jay: We need to think about ourselves as business problem solvers

ROI isn’t the only measure–other ways to look at business performance

We can help people get over barriers to working together

Example: Learning group–couldn’t create enough courses to meet all the needs so created a wiki. Realized that this worked better. Need to work around the silos to be more effective. Your customers have knowledge that would be useful for your employees–how will you get access to that info?

In chat: Gillian: As jobs become less ‘for life’, surely the indiviudal is assisting in breaking down the ‘do unto’ mode of course provision and actually fostering self-reliance and curiosity in learning – if only for personal economic survival

It isn’t about creating courses–it’s about being partners in people’s success, having more productive relationships

Jay: annual performance reviews are broken–need intermittent, continuous feedback

Clark: need more mentoring, performance reviews don’t replace that. But perf reviews can provide time for reflection

In the long term, learning facilitation will be distributed to everyone in the organization, but there will still be a role for people who help others learn

Gave example: Get rid of the training department–don’t need the central control. Deploy people as performance consultants & coaches

Our training models don’t work in complex environments; they were designed for complicated environments. If you can’t analyze the system like you used to, that old training won’t work. You can train some processes, but not for what’s going to happen. Example: H1N1. We don’t know what’s going to happen.

ADDIE looks backwards, looks for old best method & replicates that. Doesn’t work in complex environments.

You’ll never figure it out so don’t try. The world is unpredictable and will always be so.

Q: What if people who are high value individuals are spending time on lower value resources? How do you justify that?

A: What if you can take that one top engineer, have them spend time helping all other engineers in the long run, that’s better. Get beyond those short term “what makes money right now”–developing people is work time & effort

On the other side, also need to help high performers get better–you need to take care of them

Sounds like part of the deal here is that we can’t assume learning should be the same for everyone

Get away from the individual worker model–think about the group. About better groups & networks & organizations, not individual skills meeting the standards

“least assistance principle” what’s the smallest thing we can do to make people effective (Clark)

Easy to attack ADDIE. Let’s try to figure out what will work in the future. What we’ve been doing isn’t enough.

We can’t meet all the needs with formal courses–think about how to help groups work together better. But don’t assume that the master tailor is good at teaching the apprentices; facilitate the process for that tailor.

3 thoughts on “LearnTrends: Reinventing Organizational Learning

  1. Hey Christy, just ran into your article. It is very good and I too am a Jay Cross biz learning proponent. Do you have more articles? If you could please let me know. I like your content and writing style. Thank you. Roy C.

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