Thursday, 28 June 2007

Reflections from the HR Directors Strategy Meeting 2007 (London, IBDG) Part 2

Also from this meeting, Charles Jennings of Reuters share a model of linking skills and behaviours to performance that I found very powerful.

Performance is the result of a combination of Skills & Behaviours

Typically the influence of Skills is 30%,
Behaviours being responsible for 70%


Data drives Info that drives Knowledge that builds Skills

The Environment influences Attitudes that influences Behaviours


So why is this a powerful model ?

People managers (supervisors) have a major influence on Environment - so however much we support the learning of new skills, the business results of their application will be highly dependant on the role of the line manager.

  • Hence, people managers need to understand this link.
  • Also, any evaluation of the business impact of learning/training needs to reflect this co-dependency (ie success or failure of training is not attributable solely to the L&D team).

Reflections from the HR Directors Strategy Meeting 2007 (London, IBDG) Part 1

I hosted a couple of Roundtable Discussion sessions at the HR Directors Strategy Meeting in London on June 27 (organised by IBDG). The theme of these sessions was 'The Changing Role of the Trainer - From Classroom Instructor to Learning Consultant ?'

A couple of key themes emerged for me from these discussions:

Firstly - while it feels that HR L&D leaders are in violent agreement that we should be focued on supporting a learner dominated environment, not all the 'learners' we support are on the same page. Many are comfortable with companies continuing to be very paternal in directing their learning, or are too busy to see the world changing around them !

Secondly - many L&D leaders may have the vision of a learner dominated environment, but manage L&D teams still structured and skilled as a training function.

So what was the collective thoughts about how to 'wake up' learners (other than the 'early adopters' - a segment already controlling their own learning) to the need for them to partner effectively with their organisation in supporting their own learning.

  • Start at the top - senior management sponsorship is key (and others will follow their example if they are visibly managing their own development)
  • As with any change-management process, there can be merit in looking at how the reward systems are constructed to support the required new behaviours around learning (the proverbial 'carrot' & 'stick'). The carrot should be BIG right from the start, the stick starting SMALL (in recognition that change is difficult) but increasing over time in a deliberate and prescribed manner. For example: if evidence of a proactive approach to learning is evident what feedback does the employee get (and what about the same scenario in 12 months time) ?
  • L&D professionals need to build a different form of credibility - rather than a list of acreditations (to get them through the door of the training room) they need to have good business acumen (to get through the office door) e.g. to help coach managers on making links between lifelong learning and business impact.
  • L&D needs to be better at marketing & celebrating successes - also increasing the ease of the transition to self-service (eg can it be made attractive for learners to self-register on the LMS vs. expecting someone else to manage their list of training ?)

Expanding the second theme - L&D Leaders need to deliberately manage the transition of their teams from being a training department.

  • Do current staff want to be 'consultants' - or do they get their motivation from the immediacy of the classroom ? (if the latter, it may be time for them to be supported in 'moving-on')
  • Consider now the L&D team can aquire 'business acumen' - possibly via secondments in/out of the business departments.
  • Be prepared to 'throw away' the training catalogue !

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Reflections on ASTD 2007 Part #1

At ASTD 2007 I attended a couple of sessions focused on e-learning: 'Beyond E-Learning' by Marc Rosenberg and 'eLearning 2.0' by Tony Karrer.

These presentations were in many ways the catalyst for starting this blog - [ Thank you Marc & Tony ! ]

The main points I took from the presentation by Marc Rosenberg were:

  • knowledge management (linking 'information repositories', 'communities & networks' and 'access to experts') should be viewed as being at the heart of building a 'learning and performance architecture'.
  • e-learning is the next layer of the metaphorical onion: providing both 'on-line training' and 'performance support' ('in the moment guidance' eg drop down menu options)
  • Classroom training & coaching are the outer layer

Why is this important ?

Firstly, as we know ... in an organisational context, the proportion of time spent within the job role rather than away from the job is vastly greater.

Secondly, if we accept the need for a learner centred approach (for all the reasons already cited, and yet to be explored on this blog) ... then technology now provides the tools the learner requires to be an empowered knowledge seeker.

This is particularly relevant for learners who are at least competent, or have some mastery of their subject - where the need has moved from 'show me how' & 'help me do better' to 'help me find what I need' and 'I'll create my own learning'

The main points I took from Tony Karrer's presentation were:

  • Key new tools for e-learning are: wikis; social bookmarking; blogging; and RSS readers. Together they for the core of what can be described as e-learning 2.0
  • e-learning 2.0 should not be seen as replacing 'traditional' e-learning (1.0) or 'rapid' e-learning (so-called '1.3'). Rather they are complementary
  • e-learning 1.0 is characterised as LMS based, top-down content with long development times, created by instructional designers and typically 60 mins or more in duration
  • e-learning 1.3 is characterised as intranet based, top-down content with rapid development times, created by subject matter experts and typically 15 mins in duration
  • e-learning 2.0 is characterised as search / RSS feed accessed content, learner driven with no development lead time, created by users and of very short content size (eg 1 minute).

Why is this important ?

These technologies are emerging alternative learning solutions, that the learning consultant will need to understand to (i) enhance their influence on workplace learning ('glass half full' perspective) and/or (ii) avoid the training profession becomings increasingly marginalised as formal training (on-line or instructor-led) becomes an even smaller percentage time commitment by empowered learners ('glass half empty' perspective).

As cited by Marc from 'The World is Flat' by Tomas Friedman: 'being adaptable in a flat worl, knowing how to 'learn how to learn' will be one of the most important assets any worker can have, because job churn will come faster, because innovation will happen faster.'

Sunday, 24 June 2007

A Worthwhile Read

Anyone following this blog, is likely to find value from reading the following book:

'The Changing World of the Trainer - Emerging Good Practice' by Martyn Sloman of CIPD

(published by Elsevier - Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, UK; 2007; ISBN-13 978-0-7506-8053-0)

The central premise of this text is that:

'A shift is taking place from training, an instructor-led content-based intervention, to learning, which is a self directed work-based process, leading to increased adaptive capacity.'

I would agree with this, and have found that the following quote (that I often refer to in my conference presentations) makes the case for why increased adaptive capacity is so critical.

'At times of change the learner will inherit the earth, while the learned will be equipped for a world that no longer exists' (James Thurber, humorist)

Start of a blog, start of a new learning journey

At the recent ASTD conference in Atlanta (June 2007) I spent time re-focusing on the developments in the discipline of Knowledge Management, and specifically eLearning 2.0.

I'm excited by the possibilities that Web 2.0 will create for influencing learning in the workplace.

Training (be it instructor-led or e-learning) continues to be highly valuable for building competence in new skills and knowledge. Similiarly, coaching (peer, manager or externally facilitated) is a powerful strategy to encourage the practising of new skills that help transform competent individuals into 'experts'. But how do experts continue to learn and adapt to an ever changing environment ?

.... Learning professionals know the value of promoting professional networking, action-learning sets/problem based learning & communities of practice for helping experts continue to their development.

AND I see blogging as an extension of this. Moreover, the discipline of 'writing it all down' should itself be very powerful for embedding learning.

SO the spirit of learning here is the start of my own blog !

I also hope this will be of direct value to Learning and Development professionals and indirectly help us speak directly from experience when consulting on the integration of Web 2.0 into workplace learning.