The alternative to systematic training

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Written by Barry Johnson on 6 August 2018

Richard Gadd suggested when he wrote on 3 April 2018, “I believe individual learners should accept more responsibility for their own development.” There is no doubt in my mind about that. “A more flexible and intuitive approach is now required which supports, accelerates and directs learning interventions that "meet organisational needs and are appropriate to the learner and context."

This raises a profound question. How many employees actually know how to learn? How many managers as part of their manager training - assuming they have been trained and not just appointed - have learned to identify learning need and to facilitate learning?

Why do I raise this?

It stems from the quote, “required by specialist practitioners employed in analysing, designing and developing learning interventions”. If individual learners need to accept more responsibility for their own learning they need two basic things.

We need to understand learning and help output producers to understand how to learn

First, they must decide what they need to learn and second, know how to learn. The whole culture of primary, secondary and tertiary education and much industrial training has been based on 'tell'. The assumption being if you tell somebody something they will learn it.

You, me and the person next door have followed this cultural, industrial and inefficient model from the very beginning of education by the Church from The Book. The natural learning and facilitation methods of the early crafts people (copying) and profound facilitators such as Socrates (thinking) seem to have been largely diminished.

So, what is our professional L&D role and what is the role of the manager in this rapidly changing industrial environment?

We need to understand learning and help output producers to understand how to learn and we need to ensure throughout the organisation that there is understanding of change and to where that change is progressing.

We have a massive and complex job to do and we must start by understanding learning as must the leaders of the employed.

Perhaps Socrates and Kolb were the nearest to it for me. They, primarily, made the learners think and do.


About the author

Barry Johnson BA, CMCIPD, MCMI, is a non-executive director at Learning Partners Ltd



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