On LinkedIn recently, a survey in a post asked whether L&D should simply become performance consulting (Y/N). In the ensuing discussion, a comment was made that the binary discussion was flawed, and that a richer picture was possible. I was extremely pleased when she referred to my Revolutionize Learning & Development book, and posted a diagram from it. I backed her comment, but it occurs to me that there’s more here, and of course I have a connection. So here’re some thoughts on the Performance Ecosystem and L&D.
To start, she cited how I wanted to move to Performance and Development. Indeed, I’ve posted about it, and included a diagram. In it, performance consulting is represented, but as she noticed, there’s more. I think performance consulting is great, but…it’s not everything. To me, it only addresses the ‘optimal execution’ side of the picture, and ignores the ‘continual innovation’ opportunity.
To be fair, suggesting that L&D take responsibility for informal learning could be considered a stretch. My argument is simply that informal learning has practices and policies that can optimize outcomes, and that it’s a necessary component of success going forward. (I note that problem-solving, design, research, and innovation all start without a known answer, so they’re learning too!) It’s not necessarily L&D’s role, but who else (should) know more about learning?
So, innovation is an opportunity. A big one, I suggest. It’s a chance to move to the most valuable role in the organization, going forward. Orgs need to innovate, and facilitating the best innovation is going to be a critical role. Why not L&D? Yes, we have to get out of our comfort zone, start working with other business units, and most importantly know learning. So? We should anyway!
The infrastructure necessary is what I call the performance ecosystem. It’s about formal learning, but also more. That includes social, and information and learning resources. It includes facilitation as well as performance interventions. It’s about technology, but how to use it in ways that align with our brains.
The interesting issue for me is how to awaken this awareness. I suggest mobile is a gateway to the appropriate thinking. I wrote about mobile before writing the Revolution book (as my then-publisher required), but even there I laid out the case how mobile was not (just) about formal learning. Indeed, when you look at the way people use mobile, it’s very different. It’s also a digital platform, which means that it supports multiple outcomes.
Thus, mobile thinking is a way to break through the mindset of courses, and start looking at the bigger picture of technology supporting how we think, work, and learn to the success of our organizations. Which is why I’m happy to say that I’ll again be running the mobile course with Allen Academy, starting next week. Through 18 Jan, they’re offering this as a two-fer, so you get both the mobile and the learning science course for one low price! Together, you’re addressing my silly clip about L&D, both doing courses well and going beyond them.
If you want to get your mind around the performance ecosystem and L&D, I suggest that mobile learning is a effective vehicle. You get both some deep advice about mobile, but it also generalizes to digital technology overall. The course itself looks at formal learning, performance support, informal learning, and more, as well as strategic issues. Coupled with learning science, this is a real grounding in the most important opportunities and necessities facing L&D today. Whether you call it P&D or L&D, these are core concepts. Hope to see you there!