Please don’t push my learning

This week I’ve been back into a classroom training environment, something I haven’t experienced for many years. Much of my learning has been informal, or as Jay Cross recently put it, it’s PULL vs PUSH [link updated to newer post]. Going back into push learning (formal, training, curriculum, mandated, just in case) has forced me as a learner to slow down. For the past several years I’ve been learning in the fastlane by pulling my learning (informal, performance support, collaboration, self-service, just in time).

This week has reinforced my opinion that training is too often a solution looking for a problem. Many performance issues can be addressed through non-training interventions, or as Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps said in Stop wasting money on training:

“… most performance deficiencies in the workplace are not a result of skill and knowledge gaps. Far more frequently, they are due to environmental factors, such as lack of clear expectations; insufficient and untimely feedback; lack of access to required information; inadequate tools, resources, and procedures; inappropriate and even counterproductive incentives; task interferences and administrative obstacles that prevent achieving desired results.”

The amount of information and knowledge available are increasing at an exponential rate and we need to improve our methods to support learning. Focusing training in the right place would be a start.

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