10 reasons why you don’t need “learning technologies” to enable learning at work

Recently Jane Bozarth tweeted

So here are 10 reasons why you don’t need dedicated learning technologies to enable and support learning at work. Can you think of any more?

  1. Learning is everyone’s responsibility; not something to be controlled and managed centrally using specialist tools and platform.
  2. Learning technologies separate learning from the work and daily life. My 12-year longitudinal study Top Tools for Learning shows that the most popular and the most valuable tools for learning are multi-purpose; i.e. they can be used for many different reasons.
  3. Learning is not something that is done to people, most of it happens through daily work activities and explorations on the Web. Hence work tools and platforms and Web tools and platforms are the real “learning technologies”. These are the ones that should be encouraged and promoted.
  4. Learning is about motivation not gamification; it’s about tapping into what motivates people to learn – empowering them to improve and develop for their own futures (not just the organisation’s) – and recognising that by doing so there is a win-win.
  5. This means encouraging them to self-select the resources, tools and services that will help them learn in the way(s) that brings them the most value – not enforcing one-size-fits-all “solutions” that rarely suit anybody’s needs.
  6. Learning is a personal experience; it comes from all kinds of interactions and activities. Learning experiences are not something that can be generated, tracked and managed on one platform.
  7. Team collaboration platforms and enterprise social networks are where the real social learning takes place – so this is where you should encourage people to connect, converse and collaborate – not in a separate social learning platform.
  8. When comes to content and “learning opportunities”, don’t think NIH (Not Invented Here) and reinvent the wheel. Curate what’s already available and make it available as close to the point of need as possible (i.e where people go for other internal content) – not in a silo (learning platform) that is rarely used.
  9. If some specific (organisational) content is required, then don’t create and impose unpopular and unappealing (e-learning) courses on people; provide short, flexible-use resources that can be produced in a variety of formats.
  10. Finally, it’s not measuring about learning “activity” – i.e what people do, it’s about measuring what people can do as a result of what they have learned. It’s about performance change or improvement. A learning platform/LMS might be useful to track access to mandatory training (if you have a lot of it), but it can’t track performance improvements, and it certainly can’t capture everything everyone learns.

For some this might sound like radical thinking! But learning in the modern workplace requires a new organisational learning culture and mindset – and, more importantly, new work for L&D.  Want to find out more? Take a look at my Modern Workplace Learning 2019 resource.

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Jane Hart

Jane Hart helps organisations and learning professionals modernise their approaches to workplace learning - through public workshops and bespoke consultancy. She is the Editor of the Modern Workplace Learning Magazine, and is the author of a number of books including Modern Workplace Learning 2020 as well as the resource for individuals How to become a modern Learner. Jane was the 2018 recipient of the ATD Distinguished Contribution to Talent Development award. You can contact Jane at Jane.Hart@C4LPT.co.uk.