Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Re-Writing the DNA of a Learning Culture---Part I

 In the previous post I suggested that in order to have an effective learning culture, we first would have to acknowledge that the following ideas are valid:

  • We live in an age in which learning, innovation and the creation of new knowledge and skillsets are goals which globally connected businesses should align themselves with in order to prosper and grow.

Credit: David Blake, CEO (Degreed)

  •  E-Learning and the new technologies are not simply "plug and play" elements into an established business culture which hasn't changed in decades. The context for the above mentioned goals needs to be examined in the light of the changing realities of the global economy. 
           "The world does not cater to you; you must adapt and cater to new clients, new markets and a new breed of employees!"
Jack Welch, a well known thought leader, expresses this idea more succinctly when he states:
"...When the rate of change outside an organization is greater than the change inside, the end is near..."

  • The traditional roles of those intimately connected to the learning within an organization must also adapt  and change in the light of the new reality that having an effective learning culture matters and has an impact on the ROI for an organization. I mentioned in the previous post how the role of the instructional designer would change and I will describe a new role, the Learning Principles Expert, in Part III of this post.

 The Business Case for An Effective Learning Culture

 A question to think about is this:

"Why do people work at a company such as Google?"

When the new generation of employees were surveyed as to what they consider the most compelling reasons to work at Google, the most overwhelming choice made was to learn. Although salary and benefits were important, these were not the first choices. 
We could ask a similar question about working for Apple. Steve Jobs was a demanding but prolific visionary. Within the Apple organization, the learning culture was extremely important. The importance of the learning culture had a demonstrable impact on Apple's recruiting practices.

Out of Steve Job's vision came a very crucial realization that became a force in the Apple organization which simply put is this:

"An effective learning culture is a primary driver for innovation!"

When you consider how much organizations struggle with the idea of innovation to the point of detesting the very term, perhaps our problem is that we have neglected to develop the most important driver, that being an effective learning culture. It also brings to mind another very sobering question for organizations, given the Google and Apple experience, that they need to ask:

"Do we have the kind of learning culture that attracts top talent?" 

If your answer  to this question is no, then the follow up questions are:

"Why not?? What is holding us back??

Some will say that they still have reservations. In Part II & III of this post, I will continue with why such actions to re-design the learning culture makes sense, identify continuing barriers and suggest how the use of a new role, the Learning Principles Expert (Guru?), will help revitalize not only the learning culture but also foster innovative thinking on the part of engaged employees... 

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