Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

13 October 2007

A business blind spot?

Clark @ 9:57 PM

I’ve mentioned before that I think there’s a strategic framework behind elearning implementation, and have been talking about it a bit here and there. Of course, the real test is if anyone says “hey, that’s me”. I’m not seeing it, and I’m curious why, as I believe I see it all over the place.

I got into the space through a partner organization, where their clients who’d been doing tactical stuff started asking for assistance with the longer-term picture. It became obvious there is a higher level, and an emergent way to look at it. I increasingly see organizations who’d benefit, but getting to the right person, and getting them to see the need, and of course most importantly getting them to actually buy into trying a solution has been difficult. An earlier post talked about someone who needed it, but was looking for free assistance. Probably worth every cent it cost.

I’m actually wondering if this is an unseen need. That is, organizations need it and don’t realize it. I’ll be talking about it in various ways at several upcoming events, , but I’d welcome your feedback on whether it’s too early, too obvious, too obtuse, or what.


  1. Clark, I see this quite often. Clients asking for training when a lack of skills & knowledge is not the issue or vendors specifying e-learning because that’s what the RFP calls for. Learning is where medicine was two centuries ago. Vendors sell stuff to treat symptoms when neither they nor their clients really understand how to systemically diagnose the root causes of performance issues. In several cases that I’ve been personally involved with, I would say that vendors are supplying a treatment similar to bleeding the patient. Getting the message out is the difficult part, as old habits die hard, especially when you can still make money the old way.

    I agree with certain aspects of your diagram, particularly that performance centered design and community building are higher up the gradient. I’m not sure about e-leaning as the base, though. I’ll have to think about this one. Here’s a handout I use to explain my approach to analysis:


    Comment by Harold Jarche — 14 October 2007 @ 8:21 AM

  2. Harold, like your analysis approach in your diagram! Actually, in mine, there are several ‘entry points’ to what for lack of a better term I’ll term eLearning. Those are typically one of the ‘content and quiz’ or the web-enabled powerpoint presentation, portals, or a bit of eCommunity. The point is how to make them work together and get extended. It’s not technology, it’s not learning, it’s performance across organization silos and across IT suites.

    I’m seeing clients buying a solution to an immediate pain, without taking a step back and ensuring that the solution won’t conflict with something else they’re trying to do elsewhere. So they buy a sales process training solution, and a product training solution, and they don’t make them work together. Or they’ll create portals for HR information that aren’t referred to in eLearning for benefits or ethics or…

    And that’s not even getting to your point about them not knowing the root cause of the problem. Keep on truckin’.

    Comment by Clark — 16 October 2007 @ 3:56 PM

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