Sunday, June 1, 2014

Is Your Employee Training & Professional Development Old School?

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Introductory Comment: Some of you reading this might start thinking this all sounds a bit dated. If you feel this way, please know there are many people this still applies to (even those in educational leadership)  -- that's why I'm writing it! I'll be continually writing about it because I believe utilizing technology is an essential professional competency!

I was having a conversation with a friend one day who'd known me for many years.  The conversation surrounded something in my personal life and he said, "JoAnn, you're still thinking like you're in your 30s...(ok, yes I'm not)...update your files."

Update your files...what did he mean by that? He meant think like the age (year) you're in.  Now, since he is a tech guy...update your files implied that your mind is a computer.

I really believe that is starting to happen and needs to happen in many contexts in our lives.  The context for this post is - learning in the area of personal & professional development, more specifically employee training.

As someone who has been in the corporate training business for many years in the contexts of on site and pubic seminars as well as individual coaching, I can say we need to "update our files" regarding our approach to learning and the tools we use in light of the internet, mobility, and digital socialization.

What's exciting about these three resources is it makes learning easier, more affordable, and accessible.  Those very elements can also be a down fall, but I won't focus on that in this post.

These three elements gives every person a chance to know, so that they can grow.  Learning is the first step in developing a meaningful knowledge base and is the prelude to developing practical competencies in any area of life.

I do admit some people learn and don't grow or don't turn their knowledge into practical, measurable "know-how." But in order for growth and practical know-how to be obtained, the learning has got to be there.

The Power Three in Learning - Internet, Mobility, and Digital Socialization

The Internet - the worlds biggest library of information ever and it's still growing along with the ability to execute commerce with ease.

My experience: I look up something with a good set of keywords and poof!...I have the answers.

Mobility - get what you need to know, do what you need to do all at your finger tips; also with the ability to execute commerce with ease.

My experience: Man do I love some of my apps, Moviefone, Delta, The Weather Channel (nothing gives me a thrill more than seeing a radar of thunderstorms in realtime on my phone...ok...well there are more thrills in life than that, but it still has a cool factor).

Digital Socialization - collecting and sharing knowledge with others - saves time, builds needed networks.

My experience: I can't tell you how much my learning has accellerated with my connections on Twitter.

Want an example of how all three were used in my world?  I spoke at the regional ABWA meeting in Albuquerque.  A fellow colleague in the training industry and ABWA member, Dr. Kella Price, tweeted all the key points from my workshop on Strategic Thinking = real time learning.

All this brings me to my final point and full circle to "updating our files." Even as we still work with traditional learning deliveries of all day seminars, workshops, hour long webinars & tele-conferences (which I have always had a hard time sitting through), e-learning (and yes I consider this now traditional), how can we use the power three in even newer ways?

I do see much discussion and books percolating in the training community around Social Media & Training.  Additionally I would like to suggest that in considering the most effective ways to train adults/help adults learn - creating accessible, easy to use adult learning avenues, the power three can play a crucial role in the area of accessibility, portability and duration of time.

In considering the 4 Key Principles of Adult Learning - the power 3 can provide targeted, manageable  information that can be continually accessed for repetition and application to the learners real time challenges. It allows for self-directed, customized learning.

Additionally the internet gives ease of access to help even if that person is in a different country! I met my Internet Consultant on line; we skyped for several years - she is based in England.

write and teach seminars on time management, so I always have that in mind and one of my biggest grips in traditional deliveries is time.  When I open a public seminar, one of the first things I ask is what the attendees want to get out of the day.  Usually the answers are all over the place.

Admittedly, I feel bad when I know that what they could use is a brief discussion with me where a solution is customized and offered quickly rather spending a whole day in a seminar and waiting until 1:00 to get to the segment that addressed their need.

Now are they still learning things, yes...of value yes...but, if someone also had the choice of targeted learning or customized advice...what might they choose?  And that's the key word, choice....and that's what the power 3 provides - choice.

And that's the reason for this site. It's a test run on targeted learning.  This site is also easy to access on a mobile device and it has it's own app. (See the side panel to the right for QR codes or go to the app site.)

With this blog as a learning resource, simple, actionable information can be accessed and applied with ease. I invite you to subscribe and look for the coaching points. The majority of the content is taken from seminars I've conducted across North America over the past 15 years.

Feel free to pass on to colleagues, team members and those you lead.  

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