Everyday Experience is Not Enough

2011 December 9
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A core tenet of informal and social learning is that we learn through experience. It’s the elephant in the 70-20-10 room. It’s often used as an admonishment to formal learning. Advocates of the most laissez-faire approaches informal learning suggest that given the right tools (social anyone?) employees will do just fine without all the interference by the learning department, thank you very much.

No one in their right mind would argue that experience is not a powerful teacher, or that our most valuable learning occurs while working. But it’s pretty broad generalization don’t you think? Some experiences must be more valuable than others for achieving learning and performance goals. And if so, what makes those experiences more valuable and how do we know them when we see them? Or, from the perspective of the learning professional, how can we help create the right experiences to help people develop their skills? These seem to be important questions if we are to get beyond loose approaches to informal learning…

 

…Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note: The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued. I post blog introductions here to encourage former Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog. All the Gram Consulting content, plus a bunch of new posts are on the new blog. Please come on over…

Moving Practice to Centre Stage

2011 September 22
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As digital content becomes more prevalent (free and otherwise), there’s much talk about the new role of the learning professional as content curator or content strategy developer.

I agree this will be an important role, but worry it yet again puts the focus on structuring and controlling all that information (another round of knowledge management anyone?) while minimizing the critical role of practice and application of the “content”. We all know the importance of practice and feedback in the progression of knowledge to performance (we do all know that, right?). If we truly believe it, then we need to put the design of practice and feedback at the centre of our work, and content (information) in a supporting role.

…Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note: The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued. I post blog introductions here to encourage former Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog. All the Gram Consulting content, plus a bunch of new posts are on the new blog. Please come on over…

 

8 Ways to Improve the Strategic Value of Custom Learning

2011 June 16
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About half of the formal training provided in organizations is custom developed (the other half are packaged “off-the-shelf” programs). Yet organizations often don’t get the strategic bang for their custom learning buck.  Training organizations continue to respond to requests that disconnected form company strategy.  We are getting good at producing a more training in shorter time periods (rapid!) but not necessarily better training, and we are using technology to reinforce these patterns, not break free from them.

On Monday June 20th, at 1:00 pm (EST) I am doing a free webinar to discuss ways organizations can get more strategic value from their custom learning initiatives (including informal learning).  Panel guests from two Global Knowledge  clients  (Bell Canada and Service Canada) will participate.   Feel free to join us (it’s free).  Click here to register .

Here are 8 of the  practices we’ll be discussing….

…Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note: The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued. I post blog introductions here to encourage former Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog. All the Gram Consulting content, plus a bunch of new posts are on the new blog. Please come on over…

 

Designs for Natural Learning

2011 June 3
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What learning are you designing at the moment?

If you’re a traditional instructional designer it may be a structured e-learning or classroom program. If you have a more constructivist bent you may be working on an immersive “learning environment”. If you prefer humanist OD approaches maybe an action learning program is how you roll. These are all awesome interventions in the right circumstances and each has their place in the learning continuum.

But in addition to these designed programs, I think we have a responsibility to help people learn as they pursue their day to day work. Call this informal learning if you like, but I prefer natural learning. Done well, it typically goes unrecognized as learning at all. But it too can be designed. Instead of learning programs, you are designing work environments, tools, information and feedback systems. The raw materials of this effort is the work itself. Think of it as performance design….

…Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note: The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued. I post blog introductions here to encourage former Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog. All the Gram Consulting content, plus a bunch of new posts are on the new blog. Please come on over…

 

Mapping Informal and Formal Learning Strategies to Real Work

2011 May 5

During the Q&A at a recent conference session on Social Learning a retail industry attendee asked: “I have to train 300 store level associates in new product knowledge in the next three months.  Is social learning really what I want?” What would your answer be?

I advocate informal and social learning vehicles when appropriate and get as excited about their uses as you likely do, but it’s not a panacea for all our learning woes.  The current zeal around social learning solutions can distract from real performance needs (we’ve been distracted before).  Social learning gets positioned as the enlightened and “correct” solution for the modern workplace. Formal learning is old, tired, and reluctantly tolerated for the vestiges of the traditional, mechanistic workplace.

But, set aside your biases one way or the other for the moment and simply think of the roles and functions you support in your organization.  It will vary by industry of course, but your list is going to be some subset of the following:

..Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note: The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued. I post blog introductions here to encourage former Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog. All the Gram Consulting content, plus a bunch of new posts are on the new blog. Please come on over…

 

I Want it Now!

2011 April 25
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The Learning Circuits Blog big question this month is:

How do you respond to the “I want it now!” request from a demanding executive?

Learning Circuits provide the scenario of  a Type A executive with a website open on rapid instructional design prompting the “I want it now” request.  (Hard to imagine i know, and if true presented an excellent “teachable moment” with that executive!).

While “I want it now!” is common demand on training functions, it’s certainly not unique to us.  Ask the IT, Marketing, or Administration function and you will hear the same groans of recognition.  The strategies for dealing with the situation are the same.  The issue has more to do with relationship building and consulting approaches than anything related to how quickly you can throw together a training program to meet the request.

Here are a few strategies that might help….

…Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note: The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued. I post blog introductions here to encourage former Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog. All the Gram Consulting content, plus a bunch of new posts are on the new blog. Please come on over…

Making Informal Learning Assets Work

2011 March 25
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Seeking ways to leverage new social media environments, learning departments are discovering ways to sneak a little formal learning through the informal learning back door. Some of our clients for example, are looking to load up their social learning environments with small bits of learning content related to business goals. The notion being that these informal learning assets will live or die on the strength of their connection to employee performance need. Informal learning assets (or perhaps more accurately formal learning assets designed for informal consumption) are small segments of learning media such as videos, podcasts, documents, animations, short interactive pieces, images, performance guides, job aids, process descriptions, anything with a learning intention that can be posted to a social media environment. They can be created by anyone, from learning designers, to managers and employees and team members…

…Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note: The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued. I post blog introductions here to encourage former Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog. All the Gram Consulting content, plus a bunch of new posts are on the new blog. Please come on over…

Extending Action Mapping for Performance Design

2011 March 15
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Through her Action Mapping process Cathy Moore has demystified, simplified and put a friendly face on an analysis process that produces lean and effective learning programs with an emphasis on practice and application. I used the process (and visual mapping approach) to facilitate a learning requirements session a while back. Worked like a charm. I thought then that the process might be taken a little further and be used to identify gaps in the immediate performance environment known to impede optimal performance and then specify solutions for improvement. Here’s what I’m getting at…

…Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note: The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued. I post blog introductions here to encourage former Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog. All the Gram Consulting content, plus a bunch of new posts are on the new blog. Please come on over…

The 30 Second MBA

2011 February 28
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I came across this interesting resource recently–The 30 second MBA.

It’s a venture of Fast Company Magazine.  Leaders and entrepreneurs from a variety of industries are asked to describe their approach to various leadership problems and topics in 30 seconds or less (ticking clock and all).  The site describes their mission like this:….

…Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note:  The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued.   I post blog introductions here  to encourage former Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog. All the Gram Consulting content, plus a bunch of new ones are on the new blog. Please come on over…

 

Evaluating with the Success Case Method

2011 February 25

In my last post I mentioned that I prefer the Success Case Method for evaluating learning (and other) interventions to the Kirkpatrick approach. A few readers contacted me asking for information on the method and why I prefer it. Here’s a bit of both.

About the Success Case Method

The method was developed by Robert Brinkerhoff as an alternative (or supplement) to the Kirkpatrick approach and its derivatives. It is very simple and fast (which is part of it’s appeal) and goes something like this:…

…Please visit my new blog Performance X Design to read the remainder of this post and others.

Note:  The Gram Consulting blog has been discontinued…I post blog introductions here  to encourage Gram Consulting readers to visit the new blog.   Please come on over…