Archive for category L&D Transformation

Is there a better word(s) than ‘learners’?

Words have power.  They shape perceptions.  They trigger emotions.

This morning I was reviewing a capability framework, reading skill descriptions aloud.  One statement contained the word ‘articulate.’  When I read it the word just felt satisfying with it’s hard edges emphasising the sense of clarity that it alludes to.  I tweeted about how it felt to say this word.

Articulate is also the name of an eLearning development package, so it had a very different association and emotional impact on someone else as their reply indicates.

As an aside, I like the word malarkey too.  What pictures form in your head when you read this word?  I think of a group of noisy cockatoos.

On a more serious note …

The words we use to label objects and groups of people can convey messages or be perceived by others to contain meaning that perhaps we had not intended.  In another Twitter conversation occurring simultaneously someone was talking about ‘learners.’  Debate about use of the word ‘learners’ within organisations is not new.  One ground for objection to the word is the point raised by Nigel Young below that learning is pervasive and simply a part of being human.

Picking up on the ‘learning is pervasive’ point, I grapple with the word ‘learner’ because it reinforces the mental model that learning and working are separate activities.  Clinging to this model is the antithesis of continuous learning.  It impedes the critical adoption of more agile ways of learning for businesses to maintain the momentum in today’s volatile, fast-paced environment.

Despite my aversion to the label ‘learners’ I find it challenging to find a suitable alternative when I need to describe a group of people whose performance and learning I’m endeavouring to support.  The tweets below give some options.

 

Interestingly, one of the participants in this conversation was from academia and had a different view on the label.

My final insight is that choice of the most appropriate label depends on context.  In an organisational context I shall continue to find words other than ‘learner’ wherever I can as I think it goes to the heart of a very important shift required for Learning and Development practitioners to let go of control and support continuous learning as a core part of their role.

What words (if any) do you use to replace ‘learners’?  If you still use the word ‘learners’ what is your rationale?

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Leading a Learning Organisation – Sydney Fishbowl Discussion

On Wednesday 14 March 2018 PSK Events hosted a Fishbowl Discussion in Sydney on the topic of ‘Leading a Learning Organisation.’  While I couldn’t attend I joined the #PSKevents backchannel on Twitter and participated in an active discussion on topics such as:

  • shifting how Learning and Development is perceived in an organisation
  • creating a learning culture (or, more accurately – an organisational culture that promotes learning)
  • creating a learning environment
  • speaking business language
  • learning from failure
  • user generated content

It was a lively backchannel discussion, with some differing perspectives on the use of business language versus ‘L&D’ language in particular.

I’ve curated a collection of the tweets and organised them by theme.  You can access this discussion record in ‘Wakelet.

There will be two more Fishbowl discussions on the same topic (you can register at the links below):

I will update this post with curated collections from the backchannel after each event, plus a separate analysis / commentary on themes across the three events.

Thanks to Trent Rosen the powerhouse who organises these events, and sponsors Learning Plan and Good Practice.

 

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Curation Capability Description for an Organisation

In the past week I’ve drafted a capability framework for Learning and Development practitioners in a large corporate.  This is a forward-looking framework that will be implemented as part of an organisation-wide transformation of learning.  One of the new activities that the L&D team will undertake is curation.  Coincidentally, this weeks #LDInsight Twitter chat topic was curation.  When I shared a resource on curation that I had used as input to define capability framework for content curation it was spotted by Niall Gavin who had attended the Twitter chat.  He expressed an interest in the capability framework, and I promised to post my draft.

Full draft is shown below, and is also available in pdf.

The framework format was specified by my client.  The following source materials were used as input:

I’m aware of two large corporates in Australia who have roles dedicated to content curation in their Learning and Development teams, and others that use curation as part of solution development.  The value of curation for organisational learning is well-established, although it is less common to have dedicated curator roles in organisations.  Where the organisation is large enough and the value of reusing existing internal and external content is high there can be a case for dedicated curators, even if for a set period of time only as an initiative to establish collections of curated content against strategic capabilities.

Where have you seen content curation used in organisations?  What are your thoughts on the capability framework posted above, and have you seen other definitions of curation as part of a capability framework/model?

 

 

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Transformation Program Workshop Structure

Over the past year I’ve worked on a transformation program which involved a lot of stakeholder consultation.  One of the forms that this took was a series of workshops to both understand current state and co-design future state.  I’m going to use my Working Out Loud (WOL) page to reflect on these workshops and what I learned as a result of designing, co-designing and working with the workshop outputs.  I don’t have a series of posts mapped out, so this exploration will jump around a bit (and may be interspersed with WOL posts on other topics).

My goal is to extract the best of these ‘half-baked’ reflections into a better-crafted post on my main blog on this website when I am ready. This program focussed on Learning and Development (L&D) activities in a large organisation with decentralised L&D teams.  The lessons I’d like to draw out are not specific to the L&D function; some will also be applicable beyond organisational transformation.

To provide context I will start in this post by mapping out the series of workshops.  Preceding these workshops we had undertaken a deep dive into L&D activities in a number of business units to identify what was working well, and opportunities to improve results and efficiency.  The workshops expanded participation to representatives from all L&D teams and internal customers (represented by managers and subject matter experts).

As shown in the image below the workshops were conducted in three waves, moving from high level to greater detail.  The overall purpose was to define an effective, efficient future state operating model, informed by an understanding of customer characteristics and needs, solutions to meet these needs, and capabilities required to develop and deliver these solutions.  The work stream workshops in the centre row and the workstream precision design workshops were all run multiple times to accommodate 6 ‘solution portfolio’ workstreams plus workstreams for a further 3 value chain activities.  The total number of workshops conducted was between 25 and 30.

WOL Note – Yesterday I tweeted about the excuses we use to defer being creative.  The source of this tweet was a fabulous little book called ‘Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk‘ by Danielle Krysa.  I decided to get back to my Daily Dispatches on my WOL page to overcome the excuse of ‘I don’t have enough time’ and ‘But it’s not good enough to post.’  Hence this bite-sized post as a start point for unpacking how I’ve worked and what I’ve learned through these workshops.

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