A Journey in Learning

At some point, there has to come a time when the big decision of how a company develops their employees is decided. The teacher, trainer, and instructional designer in me screams,

“Whatever you decide, make it meaningful!” However, then the harder question of how is what bubbles up. How can we make learning in an organization meaningful to everyone?  How can we do this without breaking the budget? How can we do this without falling into the trap of spending hours developing courses and content that we shove down their proverbial throats, while all at the same time making individuals hate learning anything? Sound familiar?

I know some of you might be experiencing the flashbacks of high school. Picture it: sitting in class, slunk down in your chair, looking at the ceiling in a dramatic eye roll… all the while thinking, “Why am I learning this, it has nothing to do with me or what I want for my future?” Do we really want our employees to feel the same way?  Don’t we want every individual to feel empowered not only to consume information, but to share information, too?

As an instructional designer this is a problem I set out to solve. If everyone shares what they know – their own expertise – then everyone has the opportunity to learn what is important to them and what they want for their future. Successful organizations have a great deal of very smart people who are doing a great job within their perspective roles; however, it is fair to say that there is always the “go to” individuals who are the keepers of the tribal knowledge. These are the people who have been with the organization for years, have worked in a variety of roles, and just know the organization, products, and industry inside and out.

How can we make it so that everyone has access to this information without having to ask the same people the same questions over and over? How can we help everyone feel like they are the expert within their own domain? How can we change our learning behavior as an organization? Where can we start to strive to become learning organizations? As an instructional designer, I am going to start that journey by providing opportunities to individuals to share and consume information in a new way and see how people respond. I realize this means changing behavior – which is a huge challenge. In true learning-organization fashion, I am going to share what I learn as I attempt to change ideas and behavior about learning.

Stay tuned. Next time, I will spend a little more time explaining exactly what I mean by a “learning organization.” Who knows? Maybe this will be a journey your organization takes.

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