The Changing Face of Learning – It’s Here!

I have just finished writing the report for a very interesting study aimed at a reconceptualising a large organization’s Training Division into a Learning Division, and exploring what that might mean for its structure, task orientation, skill sets, and correlated processes and policies. It was a fascinating exercise in both retrofitting and growing new functionality in the division, all the while maintaining ongoing delivery to support the institution’s goals and objectives.

My report had a number of suggestions which were very much informed by all that I am seeing and experiencing in my work with various organizations and teams, and hearing in related communities of practice, about the changing face of learning. The first three suggestions were:

* Moving from Training to Learning
* Blending Formal with Informal Learning
* Exploring New Learning Technologies

Today, synchronicity (and a good network) provided a number of useful resources that capture these trends, and help substantiate these suggestions in a succinct way; so I thought I would share them here (on our 300th blog post!).

The first was an interesting LinkedIn slideshare called The Changing Face of L&D which was posted recently by Jane Hart from the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies and Jay Cross’ Internet Time Alliance. This was a presentation to the Learning Technologies 2010 conference in London, and shares in a neat visual way how the social media revolution has precipitated a social learning evolution. (Thanks to Michael Randel for sending that!)

Then I read today’s Chief Learning Officer e-news, which featured an article by Agatha Gilmore titled “Tweet This: Creating a Social Networking Strategy” which helps organizations reframe their question from “Should we address social networking?” to “How will we address it?” It also offers some good suggestions for CLOs on the policies that are needed to make this addition to workplace learning work best.

And finally, a spirited discussion on the LinkedIn Chief Learning Officer Group mentioned Josh Bersin’s December 2009 white paper on “Enterprise Learning and Talent Management 2010: Predictions for the Coming Year” (which I just read today), which includes 12 predicted strategies for organizations this year including, “We are shifting our focus from e-learning to We-learning,” and “Learning Management Systems will continue to evolve into talent and information learning platforms, and Collaboration Systems will become hotter. Other learning tools will continue to grow.”

There is a lot of noise in cybersphere about all this, and (full disclosure) I am definitely an advocate. If it is indeed here, now there is definitely some work to be done in our organizations and businesses to think very practically about what that means for our existing work in capacity development and learning. Thankfully these do not sound like distant, frontier concepts anymore. They are right on our doorsteps, waiting to be invited in.

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