Friday, December 17, 2010

The Fluidity of Learning in Today's Organizations

The question is posed - as has been an annual tradition for several years now - in this month's Big Question: What have you learned about learning in the past year?

For me the answer to this question is easy: How people process information in the modern context, and how technology has enabled each person's inner individualist.

A few months back I wrote a white paper for a masters class that dealt with how people in an organization process information and what this means for training and performance improvement going forward. I included evidence drawn from several studies performed over the last fifteen years, as well as some current thinking on the subject and its antecedents.

What piqued my interest in the subject was reflection on my own information behaviors. As I considered the findings of the various sources, I related my own experiences - personal and professional - to what the data was saying. I think the verdict is in: The new status quo is autonomy of curiosity in the pursuit of learning, fueled by the greatest range of technological means yet in history.

The implications for training and human performance improvement are significant. For example, this new paradigm begins to alter the landscape for performance improvement models such as Gilbert's BEM. A worker's environment may not be providing the appropriate amount or quality of feedback, but now there are ways for the worker to pull some of that information themselves, or at the very least to facilitate that transference. The switch to facilitation has been in progress for some time and is now in full swing, but facilitation is beginning to extend well beyond how a training session is conducted. Now we are not just facilitating discussion and debate; we are partly in the business of facilitating curiosity from a professional development perspective.

In short, learning can be much more fluid now. Could this mean that trainers, instructional designers, performance improvement specialists, and others involved in organizational development will eventually become curators of the process instead of the content?

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. Is the white paper out there somewhere?