A New Model for Training
Workers at the the bottom of the traditional organizational pyramid are those who interact closest with their environment (market, customers, information). To be effective today they need to be constantly probing and trying out better ways of work. Management’s job is to assist this dynamic flow of sense-making and to respond to workers’ needs, within a trusted network of information and knowledge sharing.
The main objective of the new training department is to enable knowledge to flow in the organization. The primary function of learning professionals within this new work model is connecting and communicating, based on three core processes:
* Facilitating collaborative work and learning amongst workers, especially as peers.
* Sensing patterns and helping to develop emergent work and learning practices.
* Working with management to fund and develop appropriate tools and processes for workers.
The only certainty about the future from here on out is that it won’t resemble the past. For example, instructional designers no longer have time to develop formal courses. Survival requires people who can navigate a rapidly-changing maze at high speed. They need to find their own curriculum, figure out an appropriate way to learn it, and get on with it. It’s cliché to say that people have to learn how to learn. Management needs to support self-learning, not direct it.
Workers will also have to be their own instructional designers, selecting the best methods of learning. Furthermore, given the increasingly reciprocal nature of knowledge work, they will have to know how to teach. Each one-teach-one is at the heart of invent-as-you-go learning. The training department should be encouraging and supporting these activities.
Harold and I are members of togetherLearn. Organizations call on us for help building ecologies where work and learning are one and the same, where people help one another build competency and master new crafts, and where workers strive to be all they can be. Open, participative, bottom-up, networked, flexible, responsive: that’s learning with business impact.