Why Now?

The learning ecosystem is moving from a focus on what’s needed today to a focus on what will be needed tomorrow. It is outgrowing its emphasis on employee performance and skills development to something more.


Why? Because of course it is. Success for the enterprise today requires innovation and continuous transformation. The target is no longer a set of static needs drummed up in boardrooms, but change itself, a focus on nimble adaptiveness.


Adding to this challenge, the “quiet quitting” phenomenon underscores the need for optimizing employee experience. And let’s also consider the growing recognition that learning among stakeholders enhances value and strengthens competitiveness.


At a minimum, this moment requires that training be embedded in the flow of work. This is the starting point. Ultimately, the goal must be to deliver true, iterative learning: corrections and guidance at the exact point of action. Iterative learning illuminates the connection between learning activities and business performance.


Think of a trip to the eye doctor. They sit you down behind a device that simulates a pair of glasses. As you peer through it toward a row of letters, they rotate lenses asking, “Is this better” — rotate lens — “or that?” This is iterative learning. You clearly perceive the differences thanks to the immediacy of the feedback.


Static courses delivered by the Ivory Tower of knowledge may soon be the dinosaurs of the L&D world. At today’s rate of change, by the time a course is presented, the world it is based upon has changed. How can this possibly orient the workforce toward the future? Of course it can’t.


We are witnessing a pivotal moment in corporate development. Learning and development professionals and the product and service vendors serving them increasingly see value in designs that are grounded in the science of learning. There is a scramble for new approaches.


We believe that the best methods will mix employees into a swirl of knowledge and expertise, stimulated by interactions with tasks and the external environment, and shaped by the attitudes and understandings of all stakeholders.


Last week we introduced the social learning sandbox as a means for this mixing and swirling. Next week we will fill in some details of a simple approach available to anyone with an LRS.