Have people design their own quality criteria

Image from Pixabay
Image from Pixabay

So, here we are with blog post 5 from my session at Learning Live. This is focused on the last of the 5 big ideas in the session. As I’ve written previously, I’m looking at the content for the first time as I prepare this blog post.

This is big idea number 3 of the 50 big ideas:

Have people design their own quality criteria, and develop frameworks to help them understand how.

I love this big idea. It’s one of my personal favourites and one I was keen to see interpreted by the people on the day. I’m a fan of it for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s handing design to the people who will benefit from it. It will invariably create meaning and community within the workplace and it’s an inclusive idea – everyone can contribute. Most importantly it still creates space for L&D by setting an expectation that the role is performance support and prescribes the L&D professional with the task of helping people understand how.

1.  People say “how” they want to learn

Love. It. But Andrew, people don’t know what options are available to them, they don’t know what other channels might help, what new and improved content I have, I hear you cry! Really? How many of the people viewing YouTube videos about Excel needed your help to identify that was the best channel for them to understand spreadsheets? How many people needed you to signpost MOOCs for them? Let people choose; the L&D role is to help them make an informed choice as opposed to an (un)educated guess.

2. Provide examples/information about how people can learn outside work

You could do this, or you could ask people how they’re doing it already and get them to tell their stories. Find your trojan mice, the people who are already doing it (because they are), and deploy them. Observe, see what change they create. Cajole them, keep asking, they’ll say yes eventually. Nudge them, they already have the ability to do this but might need help with the will.

3. Encourage trust and ownership of learning

Many years ago I remember a manager telling me I now owned my own learning. I asked what that meant and he explained that I was now responsible for identifying my own performance gaps. When I asked to then go on an expensive course to develop these gaps I was told that I couldn’t. If people are to be encouraged to own their learning, then L&D need to understand that this means ALL elements of learning. That means handing the keys of the castle and budgets back to the people. That takes some courage.

4. Provide examples

This is double underlined and has a subtitle which says ‘from individuals – re-use to bring abstract to life’. I like the idea of examples but we need to see all examples. That means the good, bad, successful, and failure. One of my problems with case studies at conferences and events is that they tend to follow the same rollercoaster path of issue – attempted fix – small win – problem to be overcome – success – extended success. The #showyourwork concept needs warts and all examples and that takes a big step for many people, L&D especially.

5. Tools/ Ideas/ Concepts so that they can then build

I’ve written about this before and it’s linked to big idea number 11. Opening all content is a bit scary for some people but the understanding part of this big idea is about creating a scaffold that people can then add their own ideas into the frame we help them shape. If people are setting their own quality criteria, the L&D function can become an architect in creating this frame, agreeing the expectation with the person and the manager.

6. Have conversations

Dialogue matters. Converse. Listen. Encourage. Support. Is it that difficult?

7. Provide outlines

This is interesting as it goes a long way to meeting the needs of people who are lost and don’t know where to start. I think this is a two stage process. Firstly, the L&D professional should be working wioth the business to craete the outlines. Secondly, at a time when the business is confident with what they are doing, they should be the architect and the L&D function. Think of the L&D function as a set of bicycle stabilisers. When do you take them off?

8. Toolset

This has a subtitle which says ‘Where/how accessibility? Online/ platforms’. I mentioned working out loud above and I think any toolset that is created needs to show it’s iterations, versions, edits and amendments. We like crafting perfect pieces but the added value lies in the production as that demonstrates the critical thinking which we’re all seeking in the workplace.

9. Culture

This is subtitled ‘Support development of coaching approach’. I have regular conversations about culture change and am regularly disappointed when I hear the assumption that process change will create culture change. The statement that there will be the introduction/development of a coaching culture fills me with the same dread. Good coaching is good. Bad coaching will damage people, culture, performance and reputation.

10. Me!

Serendipity is a wonderful thing. My hope was that in the previous posts people would have recognised that there is a personal change which the L&D specialist needs to address and it is succinctly presented in the last idea. When did you last design your quality criteria? Who supported you? What frameworks can you c-produce?

So, there we have it. 5 weeks, 5 blog posts, 50 small ideas. How many of these have you put into practice? What are you planning to start? What’s difficult? Who do you need to engage to make this happen? Comments always welcome.

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