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

1 March 2017

The change is here

Clark @ 8:04 AM

For a number of years now (at least six), I’ve been beating the drum about the need for organizations to be prepared to address change. I’ve argued that things are happening faster, and that organizations are going to have to become more agile.  Now we’re seeing the evidence that the change has arrived.

a change purseTwo recent reports highlight the awareness. Gallup released a report on The State of the American Workplace recently that talks about the lack of engagement at work.  Deloitte also released a reportRewriting the rules in the digital age, that documents trends shifting the office environment.  With different perspectives, they both overlap in discussing the importance of culture.  It’s about creating an environment where people are empowered and enabled to contribute.

The Gallup report concludes with new behaviors for leaders and managers.  The first point for leaders is to use data and focus on culture. This, to me, involves leveraging technology and creating an environment. L&D could be leading using performance data captured through the ExperienceAPI, and facilitating the culture shift in courses and developing coaching. Their prescription for managers is to move to be coaches (and again, L&D should be both developing the skills and facilitating the processes).  And employees need to take ownership of their own development, which means L&D should focus on both meta-learning and ensuring resources (curation and creation) as well.

The second report is the more interesting one for me, because it’s about the trends and the ways to adapt.  The top two trends are the Organization of the future (c.f. The Workplace of the Future :) and Careers and learning.  The former is about redesigning organizations to become agile.  The latter is about a redefinition of learning.  They are a wee bit old-school, however, as while they do discuss innovation throughout, it isn’t a core focus and their definition of learning doesn’t include informal learning.  It’s still a top-down model.  But again, clear opportunities for L&D.

The key leverage points, to me, are learning and technology.  And here I mean more self-directed and collaborative learning conducted not formally, but facilitated. Social learning really can’t be top-down!  Important technologies are for communicating and collaborating, as well as tools to search and find resources.

And while the focus is on HR, including recruitment and leadership, I reckon that L&D should have a key place here, as indicated. The world’s changing, and L&D needs to adapt.  It’s time to innovate L&D to support organizational innovation. Are you ready?


  1. Hi Clark,

    Another good blog, thank you. Question: How would you define social learning? Because I’m not sure (based on my definition) that it can’t be top down. I think you can have, for example collaborative learning activities in a formal learning approach and to me that’s social learning as well. Julian Stodd also talks about scaffolded social learning which I think moves back and forth from top down (formal, organised) to bottom up (informal, initiated by learners)? To me it can be fluid that way.

    Comment by Mirjam Neelen — 27 April 2017 @ 3:14 AM

  2. Mirjam, I do believe social learning can be formal or informal (as I wrote here: https://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/57/social-networking-bridging-formal-and-informal-learning). I haven’t seen much on an elegant segue between the two (from formal to informal), but I think 70:20:10 can give us a framework for thinking about it. I’m not sure ‘back and forth’ makes as much sense, but willing to be convinced. Thanks for the comment!

    Comment by Clark — 28 April 2017 @ 7:00 AM

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