Friday, December 4, 2015

The Cross Disciplinary Research and Mentor Network: Part II- Functions

Business organizations need access to the latest research that impacts products and services as well as a mentor network that engages employees and empowers them to be innovative and collaborative real world problem solvers. This type of network recognizes that no one individual whether instructional designer or trainer have all the necessary skillsets in order for an organization to move forward. The previous role of the SME and his or her uneasy relationship with instructional designers and trainers needs to be reshaped because it is based on a paradigm from the industrial economy that no longer fits. In the past, your organization's collaboration efforts may have been similar to the pattern below.

In re-visioning the pattern of the learning portal, there are also collaborative relationships with a principle difference being that employees are engaged, empowered, inspired and feel that they are making meaningful contributions to the well being and future health of their organization. The ongoing learning of employees in an age of information and knowledge has to be a focal point of each organization's learning culture.

When we look at the re-configuration of the Global E-Learning Hub, you will notice that the directional arrows displayed in the diagram represent paths of feedback and responsibility.

You will note in the diagram that the Cross Disciplinary Research and Mentor Network reports and advises the Business and Education Innovation Council and provides big data to the Global E-Learning Hub. Keeping in mind that the Cross Disciplinary Research and Mentor Network also collaborates with the Global Higher Education and Teacher Mentoring Network, you can start to understand that in order to keep up with the advancement of knowledge in multiple disciplines that collaborations have to be cross disciplinary in nature. The following are some of the responsibilities and roles that Cross Disciplinary Research and Mentor Network entails:

  1. Work with educators, corporate trainers, instructional designers and Learning Principles Experts in the design of irresistibly engaging learning experiences that would then be provided to the Global Learning Hub.
  2. Collaborate with educators, corporate trainers, instructional designers and Learning Principles Experts in the design of assessment tools and also take part in the assessment of the learner's (employees) efforts from the perspective of their discipline. This would involve them in providing ongoing feedback to the learner and especially to mentor-learner groups.
  3. Be willing to identify promising employees and higher education students who have the right aptitudes and skills in order to recommend appropriate mentor matches. This type of relationship will help develop employee skillsets needed for the growth of the business organization. 
At this point, the question that probably comes to mind is:

"Why is there such an emphasis on education with respect to the health of our business organization?"

To answer this question, it is important to remember a few points:

  1. Effective performance of employees of an organization is tied to how well they are able to unlearn, adapt, relearn, problem solve and innovate. Unlike in the past, in a global age of knowledge and learning, the relationship between business success and the ability of employees to use formal and informal learning can no longer be considered as separate issues.
  2. A term often used as a synonym for mentoring in business organizations is "coaching". For the record, when I speak of mentoring I mean in the fashion as what existed during the times of the craft guilds. The reason is that I believe that if we want to see "exceptional performance" of employees, superior products and services, we have to re-discover the crafts person's mindset for a standard of quality that a master crafts person expected and developed in his or her apprentice. The industrial era and the onset of mass production broke that exemplary work mindset. To accomplish this type of a breakaway from the status quo will require vision and leadership.

In looking at the networks represented and their relationships, "systems thinking" is the key to understanding the dynamics involved and what that might mean for the health and future of business organizations.

Next...The influence of global higher education and a teacher mentoring network on upcoming employee skillsets

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