Will training departments survive to address these issues? The cards are still out. After all, we are in a global economic depression, and training is the perennial first sacrifice.
What would happen if you called for closing your training department in favor of a new function?
Imagine telling senior management that you were shuttering the classrooms in favor of peer-to-peer learning. You’re redeploying training staff as mentors, coaches, and facilitators who work on improving core business processes, strengthening relationships with customers, and cutting costs. You’re going to shift the focus to creativity, innovation, and helping people perform better, faster, cheaper.
You might want to give it a try.
Perhaps the time has come.
A good description of blog carnivals comes from Fadhila Brahimi (in French). Here’s my rough translation of what blog carnivals enable:
- A time to share ideas and participate in knowledge co-creation.
- An opportunity to focus on a single issue and see it from multiple, critical perspectives.
- Development of a network of experts and practitioners around a topic.
- An opportunity to highlight expertise and interest in a subject.
- A chance to experiment and put forth new ideas and concepts.
Thierry says that growing importance of informal knowledge in professional development means that companies are forced to get involved with more collaborative activities that go beyond organizational boundaries. The whole notion of what constitutes individual productivity is being questioned. How then can training organizations take into account and help promote implicit knowledge-sharing?
Tom Haskins on Collaborative Training Departments: English
Tom looks at four major innovations that collaborative training departments will likely adapt and adopt. One is what is becoming known as “subject matter networks” as opposed to subject matter networks. It is the growing need to look outside of the organization for expertise and innovation and this includes customers [a related post on eCollab by Mark Tamis discusses social learning & customer engagement]. Next is transparency, especially in evaluating the effectiveness of learning initiatives, such as doing post mortems in public view (scary for “conflicted” training departments). Third is co-creation, or involving more people in the design process, such as the learners themselves. Finally, Tom suggests collaboratively creating a new brand for the training department.
Clark Quinn on The Future of the Training Department: English
Clark takes a network-centric approach and suggest that organizations need to empower individuals to address the chaos they are facing. However, empowered individuals are not effective unless they can also collaborate and get enough guidance to not work at cross purposes. The future training department must take on a more strategic and facilitative role, connecting people through the best use of collaborative technologies.
Vincent Berthelot on L’avenir de la formation dans l’entreprise collaborative: French.
[translation] Training is currently hobbled by financial-administrative constraints that prevent it from adapting, other than through cumbersome official channels, and is ill-adapted for new forms of learning.
Virginia Yonkers on the future of the training department: English
Virginia looks at the changing demands of learners and how they are demanding instant feedback and more choices in learning. Choices include more situated (non-standard & individualized) learning and just in time interventions. Virginia also notes that learners want to be tested so that they have proof of their skills and abilities.
Not directly related to the Blog Carnival, but a good example of the future already being here, is a recent contribution to eCollab by Michael Glazer on Examples of Facilitating Collaborative Work & Learning. One example is of mid-level managers collaboratively developing individualized learning programs and then being mentored by senior managers who they get to choose:
At the pilot’s conclusion, we asked supervisors and participants if they would recommend the program to other colleagues. 91% of supervisors and 100% of participants said they would recommend the program. And at the following promotion cycle, several managers cited participation in the program as a contributing factor in earning promotions.
Charles Jennings also weighed in on the subject previously with What does a 21st Century L&D department look like? Charles identified some new competencies for learning & development professionals:
1. consulting / coaching acumen (as well as learning acumen) that is focused on performance problems and outcomes. The ability to engage with senior (and not-so-senior) line managers to identify the root cause of performance problems, and not simply focus on learning.
2. the ability to ‘speak business’. An understanding of business goals is the ‘so what’ in learning. Everyone in L&D should be able to read and draw conclusions from a balance sheet and P&L account and understand the business drivers that line managers are focused on.
3. a good grasp of technology – across-the-board – but especially emerging technologies, and how they can fit into learning solutions
4. adult learning – an understanding of how adults learn in the workplace, and ‘what works’ in organisational learning.