Learning 2017: Blog 1. Key take aways.

Keep things short and simple is the message. We don’t read lengthy articles and watch video’s longer than 30 seconds. Unless it truly touches our intrinsic motivation. With that in mind I have cut my complete set of notes from Learning 2017 into 5 blogs. This first one is about my 4 take aways.

Learning is developing yourself

Within Pink Coat we not only run projects, we also help develop the L&D industry. A big part of our work in there, as you know is done with the LPI. In this context I was positively surprised by the mindset of the L&D professional at the event. Compared to two years ago the attitude really has changed. People are far more engaged in the sessions and are looking for ways to make their own practice better.  Instead of just wanting to be “inspired” and talking about what “should” be changing, they are asking questions around “how” can I make that happen. I saw people reflecting on their roles, who they want to be, what position in the organization they want to take. And at the same time they are urging people to take responsibility over their own development.  It was a good thing to see.

I have seen in multiple sessions that owning your development within organisations really is culture more than anything else. ComCast and McDonalds are putting out that message from the top level of the organisation and giving people the chance to build their own career. They are not worried about people developing and then leaving. They want people to develop themselves.  I am really exited about this movement. Because the time that we looked for others to develop us is gone. WE need to take responsibility if we want to get somewhere. Set goals, make a plan and go!

Learning is about analyzing the situation of the learner/worker

We know by now that we need to analyse the question that we get from the business, but still in a lot of organisations this is not done properly. Or sometimes not done at all. Deloitte made a good case for doing the analyses of a business need. In case the managers in your organisation keep saying there is a lack of particular skills truly start an investigation. Don’t only investigate what they think they need, but also investigate the behaviours that they need in order to reach that performance goal. The case Deloitte made was, that you need to make the business need very specific, so specific that you know all the details of what the issue is. As an example they mentioned their hires “needed to create pivot tables” While that sounds specific it is still way is too generic. To me this is an open door, something that is a default setting, but to some people in the audience this was new and clarifying. We all know repetition is the master of learning, so here you go J

Learning is failure

One of the recurring themes is failure. Elliott says failure is part of learning, but we have forgotten to learn like that. Most organisations don’t value failure and are focused on not making any mistakes. People are rewared for not making mistakes, not for taking a risk and failing. One of the people on stage was a physicist and she claimed that we need to experiment and think like inventors. Every amazing inventor makes so many mistakes before being successful.  We all know this, but why are we not doing it? When I design programs we always experiment with the performance goal before knowing everything there is to know. And very often people are angry or confused at first. After they thank me for the great learning curve. Karl Kapp who focused on gamification says: people need to have the freedom to fail, that’s how we learn. I’d say that should be a focus for anyone in designing learning. And let’s make sure we tell the Artificial Intelligence this too 😉

Learning and technology

Two years ago I have looked and looked for a layer to put on top of all the technology solutions at ICM (where I worked at that time). So basically a one stop shop where the tools are accessible as well as the content available etc. It was nowhere to be found. This year I have seen a very good example at the academy of VISA. They call it “The Campus”. It is a layer that connects the entire infrastructure of learning technologies. The LMS doing what is supposed to do, Learning Administration, but it was just a very small part of the entire infrastructure. I am very pleased to have seen this example and know that it has arrived (although 2 years later then I needed it) because this is so much better for the learner, for the user experience and it gives the learner easy access to multiple things without having to click through a massive catalogue. We need more of this, to make learning easy accessible, engaging and a great experience.

I don’t know whether I expected to get an answer to the future of AI and machine learning but one thing became clear: the industry has a lot of questions and not so many answers. IBM says we are just uncovering what robots can do, as well as AI. The technology is ready to log more experiences then just courses due to xAPI and the Learning Record Store (LRS) but that is just collecting data. We haven’t found the solution for what this means and how this can lead to conclusions drawn by the system and recommendations for learning by a machine. Marcel de Leeuwe follows this closely so I’ll be in touch with him for sure 😉 What we do know is that technology is so more accessible in our professional lives then in the workplace. Learners want the same “magic” in learning solutions and that is not what we are offering. So we need to step it up!

Of course with 3 days of conference with 170 sessions and big general sessions it is impossible to tell you the experience we have had. How such an event and the way it’s orchestrated by Masie can make you rethink the projects you are doing, the future L&D is embarking upon and what that means for the industry. But at least I thought I’d give you some down to earth take aways and always happy to have a coffee to discuss the experience.

Because that’s how you design, match the goals with the method.