I was talking last week with Tony Karrer, a sharp guy who runs TechEmpower, which does some very interesting things with technology beyond elearning such as linking competencies with interventions and tracked back to performance. Naturally, he’s also the author of the eLearningTech blog. Among the things we discussed was the problem in talking about what we do.
eLearning, a great phrase at the time, has some problems. It can easily be perceived to be focusing on the formal learning part, ignoring informal learning. And it doesn’t convey at the C-level that we consider the broader possibilities of how we can link technology to facilitate organizational innovation and knowledge worker effectiveness (and efficiency). Marc Rosenberg‘s captured part of it in the notion of Beyond eLearning, but that’s a perspective, not a categorical phrase.
However, I’ve yet to come across a better term. Performance Support, while a great concept, can get confused with other forms of organizational performance. Human Capital Improvement just doesn’t resonate, sounding more like Fredrick Taylor-style time and motion studies than knowledge worker empowerment. Even what I just said “Knowledge Worker Empowerment” sounds more like a social movement than a targeted design approach.
When I talk about moving up the eLearning Value Chain, the top end is far beyond eLearning (e.g. the Performance Ecosystem). Yet I don’t have a better phrase! Neither Tony nor I think our solutions are just an HR issue, but instead involve crossing silos to provide overarching solutions that are directly linked to operations and revenue.
It’s a marketing thing, but an important one I think. We’re already having trouble selling beyond the HR group, and I think the phrase eLearning still gets bucketed into that ‘cost center’ mentality. We need to be about effectiveness, not efficiencies. A phrase that’s forward looking, not loaded with baggage (as performance support, knowledge management, elearning, and most others are).
Any ideas? Can anyone think of anything besides holding a nationwide competition? Is it a topic for Learning Circuit’s big question? Help!