There are no Learners?

Sue Czeropski, PhD, CPT-  Chief Learning Officer Performance Instruction LLC


Yesterday I read this blog on LinkedIn, There are no Learners by Nick Shackleton-Jones, and it gave me pause to reflect the countless times I’ve heard people in many different work environments say they didn’t have time to take a course or were late on a learning assignment because they were just too busy doing the work. I’ve seen the same comments more recently on persona’s that are under review. People claim they are too busy to learn. But are they really? Today we watch You Tube videos or google information for bits and pieces of information when we want to know something.  Instead of being too busy to learn we’ve learned to integrate the learning in with the doing. For learners it is a paradigm shift from not having the time to learn, but a recognition that learning occurs while they are doing.

I shared this thought with an L&D colleague, Curtis Pembrook. Curtis claims the real task of L&D professionals in the 21st Century is to marry both performance and “learning” content so that it is appropriate to the task/needs at hand. Instead of performance support and learning content being separate (LMS vs EPSS), information & learning content needs to be contextually hooked to perceived or required performance, and/or cross-referenced, into formal learning units (perhaps micro-learning). Along the way, L&D platforms have to help learners assess their own growth and development, goal attainment, and build/use meta-cognitive skills. I couldn’t agree more.

What we have to get our minds around is trying to understand how things we do is different from the things we design. Context is THE key in the “doing”. Experience design is simply ISD with more focus on context and the more timely and responsive to the performer needs the better. This is where the ISD models used must be solution neutral and based on this credo:

1.     Foster human performance improvement over the ISD models and solutions

2.     Promote cross functional teams that add value to organizational goals and performance

3.     Foster collaboration among designers, performers/learners, stakeholders and SME’s over working in silos

I won’t go as far as to say there are no learners, there are plenty of learners who learn differently, at their own place and at a time when it is needed. It is up to the designers to figure out a way to serve the learning needs in a way that integrates with the doing.

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