Sorry for the lack of posts this week; Monday was shot while I migrated my old machine to a new one (yay)! Tuesday was shot with catching up. Wed was shot with lost internet, and trying to migrate the lad to my old machine. So today I realize I haven’t posted all week (though you got extra from me last week ;)! So here’s one reflection on the conference last week.
First, if you haven’t seen it, you should check out the debate I had with the good Dr. Will Thalheimer over at his blog about the Kirkpatrick model. He’s upset with it as it’s not permeated by learning, and I argue that it’s role is impact, not learning design (see my diagram at the end). Great comments, too! We’ll be doing a hangout on it on Friday the 3rd of April.
The other interesting thing that happened is on the first day I was cornered three times for deep conversations on measurement. This is a good thing, mostly, but one in particular was worth a review. The discussion for this last centered on whether measurement was needed for most initiatives, and I argued yes, but with a caveat.
There was an implicit thought that for many things that measurement wasn’t needed. In particular, for informal learning when we’ve got folks successfully developed as effective self-learners and a good culture, we don’t need to measure. And I agree, though we might want to track (via something like the xAPI) to see what things are effective or not.
However, I did still think that any formal interventions, whether courses, performance support, or even specific social initiatives should be measured. First, how are you going to tune it to get it right? Second, don’t you want to attach the outcome to the intervention? I mean, if you’re doing performance consulting, there should be a gap you’re trying to address or why are you bothering? If there is a gap, you have a natural metric.
I am pleased to see the interest in measurement, and I hope we can start getting some conceptual clarity, some good case studies, and really help make our learning initiatives into strategic contributions to the organization. Right?