During my session on talent management at the ITU event, I emphasised the need to rebalance traditional forms of training with mainly manager-led support, including on-the-job training and coaching, and mainly individual-led development, including use of e-learning, and ongoing informal learning.
Later on, we also had some interesting sessions more focused on the requirements for effective learning, particularly from Clive Shepherd and Donald Clark. Donald commented on the need for people to take notes and share their learning in order to enhance recall, so here is a summary of my take-ways (plus some personal interpretation supported by the usual mix of some personal knowledge, experience and perspectives etc) from these sessions.
Basically, learning has moved on, and needs to change even more, in response to:
- The increasing stock of knowledge and increasing pressure on time means that knowledge workers can no longer know everything they might need when they need to know it. Knowing where to find knowledge, but also knowing who might be able to provide required knowledge, both become important. 'Connectivism' emphasises the social nature of learning.
Changing understanding of the processes of learning (from neuroscience)
- Our brains can easily be overwhelmed by too much information, and forget very quickly most of the information that's been initially taken in. Boredom isn't a state that's likely to enhance acquisition or retention.
Changing mechanisms for learning (the availability of web and other technology)
- New tools, eg web 2.0; virtual worlds, mobile devices etc are already helping people to learn more naturally (socially and excitingly) than they are often enabled to do in education and at work (helping gen y outsmart the older generations).
Changing expectations (the supply of people to learn)
- Gen Y demand authenticity, interactivity, collaboration - but so, increasingly do the rest of us - in Europe, in the CIS and elsewhere.
In summary, traditional training isn't well suited for effective learning (or at least, it's just a 'toolbox with only one tool'). The future of learning is going to look very different, and will be very well linked to what's happening on the web / web 2.0 ie learning 2.0.
I agree with most of what Clive and Donald presented. I do however, find learning styles quite useful and Maslow's needs quite helpful too - even if they're not a hierarchy. And I'm not going to throw NLP in the bin either - it may not fit with what we know, but I know it sometimes fits with what I need.
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