Less is more

If you were to sum up the psychology of learning in three words, it would be ‘less is more’. Donald Clark

In FrogDesign’s presentation on Design is Hacking How we Learn, slide #27 clearly shows where the emphasis of our learning efforts should be, and where organizations should place the most support and resources: practice.

how we learn

For theory (e.g. classroom), less is more; just as the 70:20:10 framework encourages managers to place less emphasis on formal instruction and more on supporting experiential (on the job) learning. In supporting workplace learning we should take Dan Pink’s advice and find “the one percent that gives life to the other ninety-nine“.

The future for Learning & Development, if it has one at all, is to find the 1%, by thinking like designers do. Remove everything that is extraneous and find the essence of a topic, subject, or field. Society and business are changing. Old businesses are collapsing and new ones are being created, some collapsing even quicker than the old ones did. Why would the training and education world be immune from these changes?

If there’s one lesson L&D needs to take from the failure of HMV [music retailer] and the others it is to fully grasp the speed and nature of the changes that are sweeping through most organisations – increased expectations of speed, relevance, and solutions that are just-in-time and not a minute late. Not only that, but also the increased expectation that L&D departments will deliver high value solutions to organisational challenges and help drive performance and productivity. Charles Jennings

To deal with complexity, the solution is not to add more complication but to reduce your perspective to the simplest one possible. Like mathematicians dealing with complex math, they look for the elegant solution, as it is usually the most useful and most accurate.

The proof of a mathematical theorem exhibits mathematical elegance if it is surprisingly simple yet effective and constructive; similarly, a computer program or algorithm is elegant if it uses a small amount of code to great effect. Wikipedia

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