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carefully constructed formal learning pathways consisting of face-to-face courses and e-learning modules. T e only apparent change over the past 30 years has been the introduction of ‘e’ and renaming the 18th-century term ‘curriculum’ to the more mod- ern-sounding ‘learning pathway’.

Beyond formal training

Studies such as the recent Towards Maturity publication 70+20+10=100: T e evidence behind the numbers1


show that organisations which look be- yond formal training and development and embrace on-the-job and social learning approaches demonstrate sig- nifi cant benefi ts in their L&D eff orts. T e Towards Maturity study

found those using new approaches based around extending the focus on learning into the workfl ow were four times more likely to respond faster to change; three times more likely to report improvement in staff mo- tivation; and twice as likely to report increases in customer satisfaction. In this study, as well as in others,

Towards Maturity also identifi ed important discrepancies between the views of the general workforce about the best ways they can learn, develop and get better at their job and the views of L&D professionals. T e 70+20+10=100 study found that staff generally rated learning through collaboration with their peers (90 per

Training and


Fig. 1. Learning is the work Today's Reality:

8 per cent of executives believed the capability to meet further challenges was being developed eff ectively by either their own organisation or by others, such as business schools. T ese ‘interesting times’ for HR


and learning and development don’t stop at executive, leadership and management education either. T ey percolate throughout our organisations. Take diversity training. Peter Bregman reported the fi ndings of a study4

on From:

Functional management Standardisation 'Best practice' Curriculum

Competencies ('satisfactory') Workers as part of 'the machine'

Learning is the Work: Work learning

diversity training in the Harvard Business Review in 2012. Bregman cited a meta-study of 829 companies over 31 years had found that diversity training had “no positive eff ects in the average workplace”. Yet organisations still spend millions, if not billions, each year on diversity training despite the fact that the training has no apparent eff ect on diversity behaviours. Compliance training suff ers a similar fate under scrutiny. Jeff Kaplan, a US lawyer and national expert in compliance and ethics, reports major problems with compliance training,5 especially with online compliance training. It seems that a lot of money, time and eff ort is wasted. Kaplan found that “training is often disconnected from risk-causing events or other contexts”. We’ve all been there. So how can we go about breaking


Agility Innovation 'Good practice', 'emerging practice' Continuous development Capabilities ('potential') Workers as co-creators

Taking people away from their workfl ow for training is highly unlikely to deliver optimum results

cent) and support from their managers (83 per cent) as much more important than all types of formal learning (37 per cent). Yet more than half the L&D professionals report their approach doesn’t support learning directly in the fl ow of work. Other studies have identifi ed

similar problems. A 2014 report by McKinsey & Co2


that the vast amount of money invested in improving manager

capability and nurturing new leaders is mainly falling on stony ground. Leadership development is seen

as a priority area by senior executives across the world with US companies alone spending $14 billion every year on leadership and management devel- opment. Yet 30 per cent of US compa- nies admit they have failed to exploit international business opportunities because they lack leaders with the right capabilities. T is refl ects badly on the eff ectiveness of their L&D people. Work in the UK and Europe

reports similar results. A study by Ashridge Business School and the European Academy of Business in Society3

crisis in 2009 found that less than following the global fi nancial

this closed cycle and start to exploit the ‘learning that matters’ in the context of work? How can we help people make the best use of what Charles Handy calls ‘the learning that lasts’ – experience and refl ection in daily work?

The new world

Despite all these problems, or possibly because of them, we are seeing some changes that can help us deal with the failures of L&D in the changing world of work. T ere is an increasing focus on the importance of social learning, of the role technology can play in building capability, and of the way ‘always-on’ learning can be supported in a real sense. T ere’s no doubt that the 70:20:10 model is helping this to happen. But it’s not a straightforward journey. 70:20:10 requires some major changes for HR and L&D, including new mindsets and new skills – and change is rarely easy. It requires new capabilities to be developed and new

 | September 2016 | 37

Fig 1: Adapted from J Cross, H Jarche, C Jennings

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