I wrote last time about my Learning Live experience and how the conversations between sessions were one of the most valuable parts of the time there. I was lucky enough to engage in dozens of short and sharp dialogues with many people who I respect greatly. One conversation particularly stood out for me; this was a conversation with Owen Ferguson around lunch on the second day.
We’d been mooching about, generally chewing the fat and trading ideas about what good learning might look like. We’d moved organically, as all the best exchanges between people do, and got onto how we thought vendors might be trying to hit a need for good learning. As L&D professionals we seem, more than in other industries (education excepted), trying to find what’s new and good. Then Owen asked the following:
How do we know what ‘good’ is if we don’t understand what ‘bad’ looks like?
We both paused, thought about it for a minute, and said it might make a good blog post. I sketched a few ideas about it on the way home and drafted a post for next week.
This conversation came up again yesterday on Twitter. Brent Schenkler posted a super piece on the corporate learning function and Twitter did what it does best; a group of interested people asked questions and posted comments about it. The brilliant Jane Hart did what she does so well and got to the heart of the conversation with another question:
— Jane Hart (C4LPT) (@C4LPT) September 21, 2013
I think there’s some truth in that. And the reason for that truth is because we don’t admit when we fail. So, with this conversation taking palce on Twitter, and my blog post in draft form, it seemed the right time to ask what Owen and I were discussing. Quite simply:
What, in your opinion, makes bad learning?
Take a moment; we all think we can describe what good looks like. We can all think back to our ‘best’ day learning. But what’s the worst? What is the piece of work that has your name on it somewhere that you’re unhappy, embarrassed, or downright ashamed with? What fills you with dread when you see certain practice being used? It might be a big issue, or a small wrinkle…but there’s bound to be something that creates ‘bad’ learning in your mind.
Post your thoughts in the comments box below. If you want to share but don’t want to share your name then email me – firstname.lastname@example.org – and I’ll add your comments anonymously.
There’s no judgement here; this isn’t a name and shame session. It’s not about atatcking what other people do – it’s about holding a mirror up to our profession and having an honest conversation. I’m as guilty as the next person of doing things I wish I hadn’t – I’ll add my examples as the comments arrive.