A few weeks ago, I posted that we should think social first. I want to amend my statement (I reserve the right to improve my recommendations :) to say “world first”, and clarify what I mean. Earlier, I posted about working backward and forward, and err on the side of putting information in the world first, and only put things in the head as a last resort (because formal learning is expensive).
What I’d suggested is that you should go to networks first, if the answer is out there. If not, you would try to use performance support (which, though not necessarily cheap, may be less expensive than formal learning in terms of time off task, etc). Formal learning is the recourse of last resort. However, I missed one element, which came up in a conversation.
The conversation had to do with not developing resources at all, except core ones. When someone wanted help with something, the option was to first try to point them to a video or book, or person. The goal is not to reinvent the wheel, reproduce resources, etc. Use the world first, and only pick up a secondary approach if the world doesn’t have it. In some sense that’s the social network, but it might be that the L&D department, in the course of their continual self-learning (hint hint, nudge nudge), would’ve curated a relevant resource, so it could come either from a pointer to a resource, or a question of others.
Then, the core content for an organization would be meta-learning: how to find resources, how to solve problems, etc. Something we were pushing about a decade ago. Ok, so you might also develop the values and mission of the organization as well. And of course proprietary processes, formulas, etc.
The focus, however, is and should be the Least Assistance Principle: what’s the least we can do for someone to get them safely back into their flow. The reality is we can’t meet all the needs in an era of increasing complexity, and we need to be more efficient and effective: giving good support but in the right modality. So, point to it if you can, develop the minimal support to move forward, and only put stuff into people’s heads when it absolutely has to be there. Fair enough?
George Kunz says
I’m sorry to come to this post late. Well said. Assumptions underlying “training” practices suggest a “we know best” mindset. The real world has other ideas. At Intel, there is an exceedingly complex task that repeats many times a year – powering on a new microprocessor. Experts resist all attempts at organizing a traditional training experience in preparation, prefering the massed data dump. And darn if they are not getting progressively better and faster at the task. A closer examination shows that these massed sessions serve best to acquaint Engineers with broad concepts and the meta-data required to quickly retrieve information at point of need. Sound familiar?