OK, so here’s the deal – if learning is work and work is learning, why is organizational learning controlled by a learning management systems (LMS) that isn’t connected to the work being done in the enterprise? Learning is no longer what you do before you go to work, never having to learn anything else in order to do your job. In the 21st century networked economy, learning and working are becoming one.
As Robert Kelley showed over a 20 year study of knowledge workers, we need to keep learning in order to get our jobs done – “What percentage of the knowledge you need to do your job is stored in your own mind?”
1986 ~ 75%.
1997 ~ 20%
2006 ~ 10%
In a networked economy, social learning is how we get things done. Training, based on solid documentation of processes and procedures, works well at lower levels of complexity and we can develop best practices. As complexity increases, we need more tacit knowledge, which cannot be documented. Conversation is a prime medium for the sharing of tacit knowledge and is the foundation for collaborative work. We need to communicate in order to collaborate. This is why organizations need to manage what matters – collaboration.
The LMS framework is being challenged for its supremacy over organizational learning much as heliocentricity showed European civilization that we were not the centre of the galaxy. Jane Hart says that, “what is needed is an organisational system that SUPPORTS and ENABLES this informal approach to learning.” That system is one where the LMS is nothing more than a node in the network, which means that the LMS has to play nice with others (which most do not). The centre of the universe has shifted for training & development professionals and they can ignore this shift, as the Catholic church did, or they can become part of the Learning Reformation.