Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Two Things to do in Learning

There are two kinds of thing we can accomplish as learning professionals. We can create resources that support people in addressing their concerns, or we can try and create that sense of concern - typically through emotionally significant experiences - since it is concern that underpins all learning. In simple terms, we are either helping people tackle the challenges they face or presenting them with new ones (for example, using a 'flipped classroom' approach, or the transferability of care). 

This is really a simplified version of the diagram set out in 'The Tragedy of L&D'. It is presented here as two options because this is how it often comes up in conversation: there will be people who are talking about, say, performance support - who will be sceptical about the value of events. Likewise, people who build learning events feel intuitively the value of these experiences - but struggle to articulate this in the face of challenges around performance support.

It's not really possible to fully understand the respective roles of these approaches without understanding the affective context model which encompasses both.

'Courses' - in the sense of 'content-dumping' (either online or as part of an event) do not feature in either activity. In both cases the learner is in control of the learning: we are either responding to their need, or creating that need. Very different processes and outputs are required depending on which is called for. Probably it would be best to give them different names, and to separate the respective disciplines.

At the very foundation lies the false assumption is that learning professionals are tasked with stuffing information into people's heads. And that is not how learning works.


  1. Do you have data to show option Bp staff prefer? I'd be interested to know from your experience which has proved more popular. I'm also thinking pull would be less costly to build than push?

  2. This seems a unique approach to tackle such problems. I wonder how effective it is, on paper it looks path breaking for sure.