The Learning Circuit’s Blog Big Question of the Month for March is “what is the scope of our responsibility as learning professionals”. It’s an interesting question, and what prompted it is an interesting read in itself. I’ve been on the stump in a variety of ways suggesting our responsibility is quite broad, if we want to matter to the organization, and we should.
First, I believe it is the learning professional’s scope of responsibility to go beyond courses to resources and job aids, portals, knowledge management, eCommunity, etc, populating the ‘performance ecosystem‘ to support individuals throughout their development and meeting their performance needs. This is the foundation of my elearning strategy, though of course it goes beyond elearning and eventually covers all learning, including coaching & mentoring, instructor-led, organization of workspaces, informal learning, etc.
That’s pretty good, but it’s not enough. I think there’s a broader issue of Creating a Learning Culture (disclaimer: I co-wrote a chapter), which involves ensuring that the climate is supportive for learning, where individuals believe it’s ok to reflect, share ideas (even mistakes), and more. I think that this shouldn’t be taken for granted, but is the result of deliberate effort, and that the learning professional should be working to develop and promote this.
How much would you pay for this now? But wait, there’s more! I think the biggest gap, and the biggest opportunity, is in developing learners as learners, scaffolding them into a learning culture where they are confident and competent self-learners, understanding their role in the learning process, taking command and actively engaging in learning. And this, too, is a role that learning professionals should be supporting. It’s a layer across the previous activities, but should have the largest organizational payoff.
I suppose this seems like quite a lot, but it’s really at core about creating the learning environment in an organization, which includes lots of elements including the culture, goals, as well as resources. As I captured it in a diagram for thinking about the learning environment:
our responsibility, to me, means watching out over all of these, and ensuring that the area within the organization is as optimized as possible, and in alignment with the elements outside the box. So, do you buy into this?
Jane Bozarth says
I agree that we don’t do a very good job of teaching our learners how to be learners. There’s a book by Linda Honold, “Developing Employees who Love to Learn” (Davies-Black; still available from amazon, etc.)that offers many realistic, workable ideas for ways organizations and trainers can support this.