85 Replies
Gerry Wasiluk

Some interesting points . . .  some random thoughts . . .

I work for a company with a high-performance culture (with some sub-culture "pockets" of what I'd call learning cultures).  It's what we produce that's more important than what we learn.  On our annual employee appraisal form, 15/16+ of it is about accomplishments and maybe 1/16 is future development and learning plans.  What kind of message do you think that sends to employees about learning and development?

And we don't have a corporate learning strategy yet.  Everyone bemoans that and gives it lip service ("it's a good thing") but no one does anything about it.

Most folks here in the US would laugh at certificates.  If the course offered it, many folks would print them out just to be sure the LMS didn't muck up and not record their completion.  They've got proof in their hand so no asks them to take the course again.. 

And most supervisors are poor developers of their people.  We are just beginning to see that we must give them help here.  To be honest, a lot of supervisors are just "specialists" with people reporting to them.  And they don't get judged on how they develop their people--they get judged by what they accomplish.

At the same time, we work in an atmosphere where people get bombarded with a new mandatory training course or three each week or month.  No one seems to have time to develop a learning plan with self-selected elarning.  "Give me a curriculum or certification or tell me what to do" is what we hear.

Also, the ability to give people choices in a learning course, infortunately, all too often comes down to ecomonics.  Many course sponsors will say that we can't afford the professional developers to do it because then course gets too expensive--they equate options with expense.  So, as a result, many have their SMEs folks develop the course and all too often you see e-learning presentations and not true courses.  Such folks can afford the Articulate Suite but not much more. 

Zara Ogden

I don't believe that there is a cookie cutter solution to developing and maintaining engaging learning in any organization or environment.

If we really think about what it is that we ideally want to create in our various work environments I think many would say employee development Professionally, Personally, Soft Skills, Hard Skills. But put simply we want the learner to advance even just a little bit (improve) in some slight way with each program that they participate in.

With that said that means that we too have to advance with our learners and strive to change with the environment. 

Perhaps you are in an environment where certificates are not "cool" that is fine. But maybe you are? Who cares. If it works it works. I have been in both environments.

I see our challenge as this.

We have to educate management to have them encourage a culture shift that will be ever evolving. Then continue to return to them to push the culture in various ways for the rest of our career.

We have to work with the employees in all areas of the organization to try and identify their needs and style and continue to do so for the rest of our career.

We have to work on ourselves to continue to discover new ways of providing opportunities of success to management, the employees and ourselves.

At my current organization we are in the infancy stages of creating learning opportunities. That means that everything is compliance based. We provide training to meet a regulatory need. Management sees the programs and the soon to be LMS as a way to track and monitor compliance training. This is the first step. If you look into my brain and my vision...I see a much different picture. I see us as a premier provider of learning solutions for the transportation, freight forwarding, warehousing and what ever else we do industry. The opportunities we create with training, development and coaching (all eventually) will make us attractive to recruits in the labor shortage, customers because our staff know what their doing, investors because we invest in our business.

But remember right now all we are is a few course offerings, an LMS that is not up and running yet, and compliance driven.But it is a start. We have to start somewhere. Our opportunity is only as limited as our imagination and drive to succeed.

Gerry Wasiluk

Educating management is a worthy goal, something that we've tried many times.  The problem with many organizations is that "learning" does not have a "seat at the table" many times.  In larger companies, the CEO's agenda often drives things.  If he or she is a big believer of learning, that's great for you.  If not, it's a struggle.

Without a seat at the table, you're often like Sisyphus in the old Greek myth.  You try to roll the stone up hill but you can never quite make it.  You need help from your colleagues and a management sponsor/champion to sometimes make it up the hill.

Bruce Graham

Gerry Wasiluk said:

Educating management is a worthy goal, something that we've tried many times.  The problem with many organizations is that "learning" does not have a "seat at the table" many times.  In larger companies, the CEO's agenda often drives things.  If he or she is a big believer of learning, that's great for you.  If not, it's a struggle.

Without a seat at the table, you're often like Sisyphus in the old Greek myth.  You try to roll the stone up hill but you can never quite make it.  You need help from your colleagues and a management sponsor/champion to sometimes make it up the hill.


Completely agree Jerry.

A "COO" (Chief Operations Office) will often "represent" (?) a Head of HR.

A CLO (Chief Learning Officer) may not be on the Board.

Having a CLO on the Board is indeed still a rare but wonderful thing.

Bruce

Zara Ogden

Gerry Wasiluk said:

Educating management is a worthy goal, something that we've tried many times.  The problem with many organizations is that "learning" does not have a "seat at the table" many times.  In larger companies, the CEO's agenda often drives things.  If he or she is a big believer of learning, that's great for you.  If not, it's a struggle.

Without a seat at the table, you're often like Sisyphus in the old Greek myth.  You try to roll the stone up hill but you can never quite make it.  You need help from your colleagues and a management sponsor/champion to sometimes make it up the hill.

Completely agree.

I say educate management loosely. I guess I really mean inform or empower with information. Talking with management is just like creating eLearning.

If they are $$$ money centered you give them ROI cost saving data, and whatever else. (by follwoing this method productivity can be incread by ___%). If they are development centered or communication centered talk about that. I talk to the compliance guy about how much time I will save him and reduce the amount he will have to go to court. I talk the safety guy about how i will decrease workplace accidents. I talk to the Sales manager about how i can increase sales.

I am not that naive to think that the first time I ask for something I will get it. Perhaps it is the second or third or not at all. But like my dad always says "What is the worst thing that will happen? I'll say no?"

My point is more that we have to be ever evolving ourselves and work with our surroundings. They are not going to change for us. We have to work with what we got and make the best of it. Hopefully we are good enough that they will buy in to what we are selling and we can be successful together.

Gerry Wasiluk

Yup --that's why you either need to be the champions yourself or have one helping you.   Better if its an executive who "gets learning."  

I also think many learning groups are often very poor "selling themselves."  Not sure why . . .  Our culture is very data-driven and its hard sometimes to quantify the value of learning.

All too often for leaders it's more not who is getting trained and how the learninn is growing them and the organization--but who hasn't been trained so we can avoid that law suit or meet that requirment.  Too often, it seems exceptions drive things.

And the LMS becomes viewed more as a compliance recording tool and not as a platform for learning . . .   :(

Chantelle N

I think everything that has been said has been relevant, I think we all could agree that there isn't just one factor to influence anything - learning, design, or a company strategy. So, I agree with you, Bruce, that culture could work in just the opposite way. My point was more to say that it's still an element of culture influence.

And, of course, there are still a million other factors that play into it and could very well cancel it out or change it or what-not, like the very way learning is managed, the people doing the managing, what the outcomes are supposed to be (performance vs. development/learning) etc. etc. etc.

I just think it's important to realize that I don't think, in many cases anyway, there is ever going to be a true yes/no to anything in e-learning. It's more of an art and what works good for one person one day for one course might be something they have to reconsider for the next one. At the same time what didn't work for them might still be effective for another.

The more I learn and talk to people about these things, the more I see how intricate it is. But I still find it baffling that so many people rely on theory or rules as the law of the land. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely thrive on theory and rules, but I'm a very questioning person and as I think we have discovered here, it makes more sense to, well, just do what makes sense when you get there and do your best to learn about the factors as best you can.