Injection Education – the "cure-all knowledge dump" favoured by many businesses as a way of training staff. Forward-thinking organisations are adopting a more "business need" approach, with point of need solutions pulling on social and digital
learning strengths we use in our private lives. Littered with case study anecdotes, Michelle Parry-Slater offers guidance on how organisations can prepare to embrace a modern learning agenda and shares the value she receives from her own Personal Learning Network (PLN).
This presentation was delivered by Michelle Parry-Slater at Brightwave Group's 'Up close and personal: Optimising the learner experience' event, 19th November 2015, at The Brewery, London.
We are getting it wrong. It is not how we learn best, we never have. Classroom is an accident of history based on scarcity of resources. We need to take a different road.
Today we will talk about: Why it’s time to move on How we move on Who can help us
The road a ahead is long and mountainous. This is OK. It is this road, the road less travelled that according to Robert Frost, is the one we need to be on.
(If you are unfamiliar with who Robert Frost is, check out Kid President’s Pep Talk on YouTube. Love it!)
Who feels scared by this road? Who feels anxious by the mountains to be climbed?
Who feels like they are learning on this path alone? You are not. Ask the person sitting next to you right now, are they on a path to rid themselves of Injection Education in their workplace learning?
Even if they answered no, rest assured that your colleagues and staff are already riding themselves of it. They are learning at point of need, they are learning alone, they are finding information when they need it. They are climbing the mountain already, using the tech in their pockets. And you in L&D, you cannot see it, you cannot count it, you cannot use it to your organisation’s best advantage.
Ask people how they last learnt something – it will be google maps for directions, it will be google translate when travelling, it will be trip advisor to find the mountain holiday in the first place!
What we were doing here in talking to each other, it will be that, networking right here and now. Social learning is simply people learning from people. It is not tech alone, that is simply one of the tools, a facilitator to enable such conversations as you had right there happen across timezones and geographies. People learning from people, giving helping hands across communities, helping each other to grow and perform. I use Twitter exactly like that. As a social learning tool.
I have built a personal learning network through Twitter I have instigated #NoPlasters to share ideas on ‘How to Do’ workplace learning in a more modern learning way I have co-created #LnDcowork to replicate colleagues in real life for freelancers and lone L&Ders. I have pulled on my PLN’s insight every Friday with #Ldinsight.
I learn so much from Twitter, and it’s not just me; the CEO of the Learning Performance Institute, Colin Steed said “I‘ve learnt more from Twitter over the past 4 years than the previous 20!”
Why do I love my Personal Learning Network? They give me so much. This is not a self-employed thing either, because I knew these people when I was in a corporate. Imagine the value of cutting courses from your learning budget and funding networking instead? How much would that increase engagement, pride, productivity, engagement. We can use tools like tessello in organisations to allow that to happen internally. Imagine the power of no longer there being one L&Der to teach, but each and everyone of the people in the company are teachers, sharers, experts. We employ people because they are good at the jobs, yet we then stifle them by not giving them the opportunity to share and shine.
Networking and use of a personal learning network is happening at work everyday. Whilst waiting for a course, how are people doing their jobs? They are certainly not waiting for a classroom. Imagine the power of that across the globe. That is the true value of modern social learning.
Yet in work we have this. Classroom injection education learning environments. Who recognises this in their workplace learning? Unless you’ve been on a course, you’ve not been trained right? Wrong. Your people are doing it better that you. They are the whole 100, whilst we are worrying about the 10. They are asking the person sitting next to them. They are checking in with locally known experts. They are learning on the job from their experiences. They are reflecting and innovating. They are geniuses at work around, at process dodging, at bare minimum working to hit their KPIs. Imagine the power of hacking with these hackers on who work and learning could be better. How are they doing this?
They are experts in social and digital learning already. They do this in their private lives everyday. They use their network, social media, books, websites, TV, news, community. To go on holiday To plan a family party To organise their wedding To sort Christmas because they are busy at work in your classroom courses!
For a modern learning agenda to be fully functional in a workplace, we need to ensure the right parameters are in place, namely environment, permission & culture. There may be others, which are unique to your context, such as professional CPD for engineers, or Boots pharmacists. Let’s take a look at these contexts common to us all in how to change workplace learning.
The learning landscape in your organisation needs to be ready to move, literally mountains! This raises more questions than it answers:
Are you teams rewarded for learning, financially or with kudos? Do you teams have learning as KPIs? Do they have access to technology – and this is not the latest tech, but tech where the learning is. It could be a checklist. Is it acceptable, even praise-worthy, to be on TED or tessello in the working day? Are your stakeholders bought into a learning agenda? Can you demonstrate a closeness to the business by the learning you are offering? Do you understand the needs of your audience? Have you set up a ripe learning environment via internal messaging, stories and marketing?
As we move on to think about permission, we can really give L&D a helping hand here. Permission to learn is as important today as permission to write on a slate was in Victorian England. Without permission, without trust, without hand holding advocates, it will be very difficult to engender modern learning.
Does your organisation have a permissive culture for learning? Do managers ask teams about learning? Like you find safety briefing on every meeting agenda, so you find learning? Are people trusted in a wider contexts? Can they hook up to wifi? Are they allowed to use every website? Is it acceptable to have TED talks playing?
So many questions! Many are answered in the context of company culture. How aware are you of the culture, and sub cultures, or politics as it is more commonly known? Many L&Ders do not see culture as their issue – the ‘it’s the way we do things around here’ excuse. I disagree Culture is simply a mirror to an organisation’s past heritage and current people. You are current people, so you have every right to reflect a new culture.
Consequently, the most important advice for getting rid of Injection Education is know yourself and know your organisation. Know where you are heading. Know what you stand for and what you are trying to achieve. Know what journey you are leading. Create advocates and followers to help up and over the mountains. A revolution from below.
Each individual will need to feel you are there for them personally, tapping into their motivation to learn. Their private life experience personalises everything for them. Amazon knows their preferences, their experiences and their personalisation thread. Make it this easy in work too. Injection Education is a one size fits all approach. It is no longer relevant. Be relevant.
Be close to the business Understand the value you can bring to the whole organisation. Look at the picture from the widest possible lens. Ask the challenging questions – you have a mountain to climb! Don’t go in blindly. Ask What is your pain and answer in their language, not in learning language.
Introduce tech tools, as appropriate If you build it they will not come. But if you lead it well, they will. Conquer and celebrate small victories.
All that can be very tiring, which is another reason I love my PLN. I draw on the energy that I am not alone on my road less travelled.
I have returned to this slide to remind us of the value I get from knowing people in a social and digital space, in climbing the mountains together. My challenge to you is find those people for yourself. Having them around gives me this much benefit, so I strongly encourage you to find them, to have them in your circles, to know them, to learn from them.
I won’t embarrass you by asking who’s not on Twitter, but if not simply ask yourself, if not, what are you missing? Where are you building your PLN? Who will help you see there is a way over the mountain of Injection Education?
Turn again to the people around you. Network. Connect. What small practical modern learning ideas can you share here? Keep in touch with tech tools and share there too, particularly at #NoPlasters.
The end of injection education
The end of
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