Monday, May 08, 2006

From Product focus to Audience focus

Training/Learning organizations like Corporate Universities, in the Learning1.0 model, view the world from training as a product that is delivered.  In the Learning2.0 environment the training org focuses on the audience, the user group; supporting their Learning environments.


This thought was solidified while participating in a discussion about evaluating learning.  In the corporate world we should only really care if the learning is transferred to the job…period!  Is the output increased, or of higher quality because of our learning intervention.  This has always been a problem for training departments because we look at everything we do as a product, and we “evaluate” if the product had impact.  The approach is totally wrong. 


The process is continuous and if our “training solution” is organic, dynamic, and flexible, it is very difficult to measure using the current method of measuring learning products.  My point is “who cares”.  If we have set up environments that help people collaborate, and support their informal learning, we should see output improvements.  The business units and managers should see outputs and results in the data points that matter most to them, not us.  Quite frankly in ANY business it doesn’t matter if you LEARN.  The messy, continual, 24/7 process of learning is not important.  What’s important is what is actually accomplished because of that learning:  Can you produce more, in less time, with higher quality. 


In case you were thinking that the last course you created actually made a difference consider this…


Taking a course on decision making is NOT going to make you a better decision maker.  Following every letter of some fancy step action table to “assist” you in your decision making is NOT going to make you a better decision maker either.  MAKING DECISIONS makes you a better DECISION MAKER…PERIOD!  Having the guts to make big, tough decisions and accepting the failure of many of those decisions while picking yourself up and doing and trying again MAKES you a better decision maker and a better person.  Instructional Design Cannot offer that in any form, to any person.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Brent! I saw mention of you in Business Week's front page article on Second Life - congrats!

I'm really pleased to find your blog and you have the punch line I've been looking for for over 2 years - "training is not a product!"

I think it's great you're championing the idea of creating collaboration amongst the communities that are created as a result of "training" - it's been a challenge over the years to encourage this and what a wonderful new online environment we have for people in this new era indeed!

I would like to start a separate, private thread of conversation with you off this blog if you don't mind.

Keep up the great share - we'll chat soon!