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Archive for November, 2010

Wissenswert Blog Carnival - How do you implement Workplace Learning?

November 11th, 2010 Martin Raske No comments

Training organizations have realized, that they start loosing their monopoly on learning. Employees do dare to organize themselves. More than 90% of what you need in your  current job was not learned by formalized learning interventions but in informal learning situation, such as learning on the job, discussions with peers or mentors, etc. etc.  That's the answer you usually get if you ask the question. This situation frightens training organizations - but it shouldn't.

The new world of learning is based on a new mindset - sharing instead of hiding, collaborating instead of instructing, acting instead of reacting. Technology enables us to support learning processes in companies at the workplace. Today it is more crucial than ever to stay up to date. Life long learning - it's not by chance the title of this blog - is an integral part of our lifes. Not too long ago, training organizations did nothing else than deliver training content. These days one of the most important tasks is to facilitate learning at the workplace. Probably the biggest difference between the two models is the fact that modern training organizations today need to provide platforms and options - not just solutions. They have to make sure that employees are able to intaract with each other. That they are able to collaborate and share their knwoledge. It's no longer key to collect know-how within the training organization and spread it from there. It's more important to tap into the existing know-how of the organization.

Learning at the Workplace is fundamentally different than learnign in classrooms. Time is scarce. Distraction lurks behind every incoming e-mail. But: The problems are pressing. The need for an answer is immediate and often cannot wait. And: The situation is such that it optimally supports learning processes - if we find a solution to a problem and apply it, we tend to remember it much better than if we discuss it in a classroom session and are not able to apply it straight away. Because it is fundamentally different, learning organizations have to re-think the way they deliver formalized learning content as well. Also this content needs to be presented in short chunks. The Learning Nuggets format - as mentionned in one of my previous posts - is a very good example of Workplace Learning.

One of the next challenges we will be facing is to re-define the workplace. Worklpace and working time will be moving away from the actual premises of the company. Employees will be online whenever and whereever they are. Thus the workplace will be mobile and so will be workplace learning.

What do I do to support these changes? I am convinced that the first step to help the organization to start moving into the direction described above is to start talking about the changes. I run several workshops on this topic to show people of all hierarchical levels the changes that are looming ahead and raise their awareness for it. We have also started to provide much shorter self-paced training material: Our Learning Nugget concept is a great success. This year we will also start - against all odds - to run a Mobile Learning pilot on all major mobile platforms such as Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android. There is a pilot going on as well, where a whole new concept of how to build office space is tested - a much more flexible environment that leverages new technologies and new work-life-balance models. The combination of this with new ways of delivering/supporting training will be tremendously exciting.