I wrote last month about a presentation we gave to help L& D in changing the learners mindset. It went down well because we were able to tell a story and suggest a way of working that doesn’t rely on the provision mentality that we have in L&D. Over the next few posts, I’ll explain how we’re working and how we’re modelling what we do. This post gives the background to the story, the next few posts will detail how we’re approaching it.
It started when my team reviewed how we would be able to deliver a service faced with a significant reduction in resources. My team was comprised of 6 and has now been reduced to 2 – and that includes me. Our team is responsible for the provision of the corporate L&D needs of c.3000 staff and managers. This means learning support in the areas of personal effectiveness, management skills and health and safety. In addition, we support a range of different initiatives that are being developed.
Any change in our offer would need to marry the needs of the organization with their perception of what L&D does. We felt our first step was to understand the perception of the services we offered. These have traditionally been provision focused with L&D as a supplier rather than a business partner. We needed to consider the expectations of our L&D service and whether the organization would be able to cope with a change in delivery.
Course take up suggested that managers we’re not engaging with our offer as they ‘circled the wagons’ to protect their resources. We spent a long time considering how our role in L&D needs to both reflect and drive the corporate change. After some thought, we felt we could support cultural change by demonstrating how learners can work more collaboratively.
Cultural changes in the workplace have also led to differing expectations from groups of staff and management. I dislike labels but some of the people could be identified as Generation Y. This group would have differing expectations in working practice and (most likely) differing expectations in learning practice.
We’ve also seen knowledge workers diminish with every advance in technology. The availability of information doesn’t confer knowledge but expert status has been undermined with an avalanche of data available to support a breadth of workplace activity. I can look up almost anything, or connect with almost anyone who is able to carry out a specific task. Organisations need to understand their L&D function isn’t to train in the old sense but is now about providing performance support.
So, we were faced with increasing needs that need to be met with fewer resources so undertook a search for an innovative approach. We networked vociferously inside and outside of L&D. We reviewed offers from our traditional peer groups and found lots of Mexican food. It’s quite surprising how much of a muchness is offered by so many people in L&D. My recent post about the banality of so much provision is scary in its resonance with so many in our industry.
One of the difficulties we found was the desire to create metrics at every turn within the L&D framework. Measurement for measurement’s sake, complex formulae that prove nothing than an ability to create graphs, 24 different designs of happy sheet.
Then, reviewing my notes from an event I’d attended I stumbled back across a note I’d made from a presentation by Charles Jennings; it said, quite simply 70:20:10 ‘push’ learning to ‘pull’ learning