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Learning Happens With or Without You

I can learn
With or without you, oh, oh
I can learn! With or without you!

Bono once sang something like that. The point is that much learning happens with or without the organization initiating it. Learning may occur when trainers want it to, but on those occasions when it does, learning rarely feels like fun to the schooled; it feels like work. Blame that on one-size-fits-all one-to-many scenarios, perhaps underpinned by decrepit, lifeless, soulless, previous-generation learning management systems (LMS). As important and necessary as it may be, blame compliance, too, with all the attendant tracking, uniformity and tedium. An old LMS may still be perfect for compliance; an LMS may, in fact, be necessary for compliance, in more ways than one.
For the rest of the #HRTechChat Episode Nine Preview, read on. ...
The best kind of learning happens when we don't realize we're learning; we're just doing. Maybe a graphic designer is creating a new logo and figures something out about the computer program he's using. Maybe a civil engineer is trying to figure out a structural riddle and creates a novel approach to the dilemma. And, excited, they both share their newfound knowledge on social media—and everyone who reads about it learns. That's one-to-many, too, by the way, and that's how learning can happen today, and learning like this is happening more often today, too, because of collaborative technology.
Social Media–based Learning—It's What's for Dinner…and Breakfast
"It’s just recognizing and embracing that [organic, spontaneous sharing of knowledge] is probably 80 percent of how people learn, and it's happening," says John Schneble, director of The Satell Center for Executive Education, providor of executive and management training via collaborative online environments. Schneble is also former product director for Expertus, a role he held at the time he shared with TMT the remarks in this blog entry. Expertus is creator of a cloud-based LMS that unifies formal, informal and social learning under the auspices of a single platform.
"The problem is that organizations don’t know how," says Schneble. "They aren’t facilitating it."
Put another way, technology is revealing and unleashing the long-latent tendency of groups to circumvent official learning channels in favor of unofficial channels, which the group instinctively trusts for actionable intelligence.
"In the morning," says Schneble, "before your sales team hits the road, they’d love to get online and read some best practices on calling on these types of customers, selling these types of products, and the problems and lessons learned associated with that. They’re all talking about this stuff and the reality is that they’re already doing it. Sales people are already calling other sales people. The smart ones quickly find out who the experts are and who they should talk to. This happens in every group, not just sales."
Channels and Nodes
Actually, the favored channels aren't channels necessarily. They're more like nodes. Between some, the permanence of channels develops where information flows back and forth often and routinely. Elsewhere, nodes appear for one instance of an exchange of knowledge and then disappear, to reappear or not later depending on whether or not knowledge ever again travels between the two same points. It's decentralized, spontaneous, organic learning.
And what does that relegate centralized, structured learning to? Compliance, that's where—not that there's anything wrong with that.
"If you take a step back, the training department needs to get out of the content business, to an extent," says Schneble. "They still need to push out their sexual harassment training and a lot of other stuff, not to minimize it. There’s a lot of organizational driven knowledge that needs to get pushed out. But, they need to recognize their limitations there and not be the garners and holders of knowledge and recognize that a big part of their job is facilitating knowledge sharing."
Join Us for #HRTechChat Episode Nine on Wednesday 3/7 @ 4pm ET / 1pm PT
So, where and how does technology help workplace learning, and where does it encounter too much interference? Does compliance force over-compliance of employee learning styles, and can technology even begin to transcend that sort of thing? We have a list of questions for #HRTechChat Episode Nine this week, at 4pm ET / 1pm PT. HRO Today Contributor Brent Skinner will be joined by co-hosts–at-large Meghan M. Biro and Sean Charles. They'll be ready for your tweets!

  • Q1: Why are legacy #LMS environments so clunky? Is it just because they're old, or is it something else? #HRTechChat
  • Q2: How are the good #LMS environments evolving? Are there any stragglers? Who's losing ground? #HRTechChat
  • Q3: Is #socialmedia *really* the new #LMS? Or is that an exaggeration? Where *does* #socmed fit in here? #HRTechChat
  • Q4: How does #videotech fit into workplace #learning? What are the benefits? #HRTechChat
  • Q5: How does #compliance adapt to the new realities of #learningtech? Or will it just not? #HRTechChat
  • Q6: How can organizations integrate their #learningtech with #mobiletech? #HRTechChat
  • BONUS CONVO: How will M&A affect the market of LMS vendors over the next year? #HRTechChat

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