Monday, June 3, 2013

Breaking Out!

Breaking Out!

On-the-job training, coaching, in-house development courses, e-learning, external courses & workshops, internal knowledge sharing events, job-rotation, secondments & shadowing, action learning sets, video based learning, mobile learning, social media (eg Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc), games & simulations, podcasts, virtual learning systems, wikis, webinars, mentoring, on-line forums and talking around the water cooler. 

Rachel Burnham of Burnham L& D Consultancy writes:  These are just some of the dazzling array of learning methods discussed in the CIPD’s Annual Learning & Talent Development Survey for 2013, which came out recently.  The survey explores what is happening in L&D in UK based organisations from the learning methods used, to budgets , with more detailed exploration of current issues such as apprenticeships and evaluation. 

It is an interesting read, particularly when you look at the sheer range and variety of learning methods discussed.  

So, why is it that oftenpeople new to L&D focus on traditional training courses as the answer to every learning need.  Not only that, but often the kind of course envisaged is a presentation, very trainer led and probably using lots of bullet-pointed Powerpoint slides!   Face to face courses can be very effective, particularly when interactive, but they aren’t the magic pill.

I guess there are many factors that lead to this situation:

·       Often this is our personal experience of education at school, college and even university – so perhaps it is hard to imagine an alternative.

·       This may be our experience of being ‘trained’ at work – let’s face it there are many organisations who adopt very directive management styles and so we shouldn’t be surprised if this also affects the approach to learning.

·       Sometimes the expectation of our learners and the other stakeholders we work with is that learning can only happen in a workshop environment and learning only takes place if learners  are told what to learn

·       There may even be some in L&D who yearn to be the ‘expert’ at the front of the workshop – all eyes and ears on them!

There are definitely times when I feel as though I am switching between two alternate realities – in one world sharing tips and ideas with L&D professionals on how to make more effective use of informal learning, social media and games/simulations - where sometimes the idea of a formal course delivered in person can seem an anathema  - and then working with organisations and L&D professionals for whom the formal course is the default position, but when challenged and supported to consider other options are like children in a sweet-shop excited by the possibilities open to them.

We need both to be excited by the options open to us, but also able to consider the particular requirements of each situation and strengths & weaknesses of each learning method.  We need to consider all options open-mindedly, neither defaulting to one option nor writing any off, keeping the focus at all times what will have the greatest impact on performance.

Rachel Burnham

3 June 2013

Burnham L & D Consultancy specialises in the development of L&D professionals, blended learning and evaluation

Follow me on Twitter @BurnhamLandD

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