Sunday, May 8

Sometime I Feel Like a Dine-Oh-Saur

I remember my Dad's buddy Tony who - aside from a stint as my Father's shipmate in the Pacific during the Big One - had spent most of his working life in a Pittsburgh steel mill before he was laid off forever. He kept telling my Dad he was too old to change and "...felt like one of them Dine-oh-saurs"

I feel like that sometimes lately. I feel like that when I talk to people who develop 'learning' programs or even when I read some of these blogs. I guess what I'm realizing is that the way things used to be done, is done.

Every now and again you read a piece by someone and you say "Spot on!", or whatever you say when that person hits an emotional mark, somewhere deep inside you. Here's what I read by Dr Allison Rossett, San Diego State University, Professor, Department of Educational Technology. She writes about the evolution of training:

"In the good old days, we wrote courses. We scheduled them. We taught them, or found somebody good to do it. Maybe we made a video or bought one. Maybe we evaluated the classes. Mostly we didn't. Everything is different today. US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan put it this way, "Human skills are subject to obsolescence at a rate unparalleled in American history." Effective organizations are running at warp speed in a global and fiercely competitive environment. New software, new products, new customers, new competition, and new possibilities demand our attention.

If employees do not feel well served by us, they can reach beyond us to online classes, communities, modules and e-coaches, no matter the physical locations. Technology thus presents tasty opportunities for workforce learning and support. Consider blended approaches, online assessments and self-assessments, performance support, informal learning, knowledge management, communities of practice, and captology. What are some of these intriguing possibilities and how do they change what's possible for employees and what's expected of us?"

Indeed, I can only echo what she wonders when she asks 'what are some of these intriguing possibilities, how do they change what's possible for employees and what's expected of us?'. Sometimes I think everything I've learned about learning needs to be relearned. Sometimes I feel like a dine-oh-saur. Do you ever feel like a dine-oh-saur? Maybe it's time you should ... let me know.


Clark Aldrich said...

There is a difference between evolution vs. trendiness, between change in conditions and improvement in capabilities vs. a new flavor d'jour.

Anonymous said...

Clark if you could elaborate upon the differences I'd really like to know how to separate out the evolutionary from the trendy and charge my clients for the latter and not waste time with the former.

It seems that almost everything we're doing right now fall in the retro Industrial Age training box.
The words I hear most often are NOW and FAST and JUST TELL ME who can tell me. I'm not hearing 'I need to learn this or that' but I am hearing 'I need to get this or that done now and get moving'.

What do you think is works to get the job done when it needs to be done. What do you tell employees who want to do a great job, who are under constant pressure to perform AND do not feel they have the time to spend on learning or remembering, only on doing?

Anonymous said...

I agree. I don't have time for training or simulations or other things that do not directly help me do my job.

Most training I took in the last 4 years on this job is already useless. It's like all the time I spent 'learning' in college or high school. All that information is gone. It was in my head at one point and now it's gone.

Since I do not yet have kids to help with their homework I doubt I'll ever use it again. So why did I bother to go to school? Needed the degrees for jobs.

What do I need on the job? Something, anything that will help me get the job done when I need the help. Do I get that at my job today? No. Do I get pulled out of my cube to go to yet another training program? Yes. Does it help me get my job done? No.

Do I think you folks are helping to perpetuate a system that maybe never worked but definitely does not work now? Yes.

Dave Lee said...

Mandy - I say "spot on" to you for voicing the very real frustration that employees (and employers) have with workplace training as it has been done. It's exactly that frustration that has caused that evolution that Alison Rossett talks about.

I'm a big advocate of the workflow learning concept (see as a start). Even if there IS training you need in order to do your job, you're more likely to apply it and remember it if you learn it when you need it - not 3 months before or 3 months after.

To defend the learning profession a bit, there are alot of us who feel it is long past the time for us to change as Rossett spoke of. Many of us are working very hard to do so.

That said, like you, we have employers who sometimes don't see the benefits of such a massive (and expensive) change. So they keep telling us that we need to do "more of the same, cheaper and better" if we want to keep our jobs.

Change is difficult, but change will happen.

Anonymous said...

Dave, thanks, maybe you could do a longer blog on workflow learning. I looked at the site and was wondering which companies are leading with it and what a day in the life of an employee might be like in 2020?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, very interesting!

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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