Tag Archives: Performance

Stuck inside of mobile with the platform blues again

22 Jan

I hear it everywhere I go, in conversations with people who don’t know better and—more frustratingly—with people who should. Some variation of the themes laid down in this recent article from CMS Wire. Complete with a fine-looking infographic (which I’m a sucker for!), the author highlights trends in business communication. She points out the shift to a higher share of communications on mobile devices and internal tools (intranets and enterprise network solutions (ENS)), and away from face-to-face meetings.

She is correct on each point, and yet misses the point entirely.

The significant trends in our networked world aren’t about mobile, communication platforms and new devices. The “trends” in workplace communication are about why and how, not what and on which platform.

As I’ve discussed in this blog before, alongside and in the footsteps of those more expert than I, all that devices and platforms provide us with is a new gateway to discover, categorize, tag, share, synthesize and learn from the information at our fingertips. The hot new device of 2015, and whatever new platform your organization rolls out this year, doesn’t really matter. Devices and platforms are fleeting and will be gone by 2020.

The mental maps we create are the critical element in how we work/ learn.

The mental maps we create are the critical element in how we work/ learn.

The real change is between our ears, within organizations that are reconfiguring away from hierarchies and toward network-centered activities, and those who can learn—and make use of that learning—every day, individually and collectively.

I see this confusion raging even close to home in my own PLN in eLearning and L & D circles. “Mobile is the next big thing!” No, it isn’t. Mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous and we can’t ignore their significance in how we deliver learning experiences and performance support, but they are only a facet of what really is the next big thing: personal learning and how it intersects organizational and communal learning. The significance of “mobile vs. other” will be over by 2020 (along with email as primary work function, please!!), but the significance of learning practice as the tool for organizational and professional development is just getting off the ground.

Sooner or later, one of must know… sorry, couldn’t stop myself.

Thanks, Bob.

Thanks, Bob.

I don’t care what you know: Do it!

7 May

I want to return to a subject that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago in a previous post. As Instructional Designers and e-learning professionals we spend a lot of time and energy ensuring that our products support learning objectives. Even if we don’t do a formal assessment, we have ways to measure our design to their  outcomes (or at least we should!).

In order to develop good learning objectives (time and budget allowing), IDs will spend good time and effort doing task analysis and mapping each discrete task to specific learning objectives. We want to discover: What does the learner need to know, and need to do, in order to improve performance. Armed with good analysis of what the learner needs are, off we go creating our great e-learning courses.

But that only takes us part of the way. Our trade is human performance in business, isn’t it? (And yes, non-profits and educational institutions are businesses for this discussion, too.) I don’t want to get too deep into the heuristic weeds here, but shouldn’t we be less concerned with what learners know and what they can do, and a whole lot more concerned with what they actually do?

This is often where the disconnect between the business side of things and the training/ID side reveals itself. We sit at the table with managers and decision makers – the folks who live and die by financial data and KPI (key performance indicators). It is not that they don’t see value in professional development and a well-trained workforce.

Again, here is the kernel: Good organizational leaders ultimately don’t care what their people know or can do. They care deeply, however, what they do.

We need to be able to speak the language of business. We need to explain that we are not training people to know how to do something, we are training them to do it! It seems simple, but it is anything but. The leap between knowing and doing –delivering performance support that people will actually apply—is the secret sauce that good trainers, IDs and CLOs struggle with everyday.

It begins with an attitude shift: We are business partners in our organizations. We need to speak the language of business in ways that make sense to our partners (KPI). We need to prove that we are changing what people actually do. We are coaches, learning consultants, and ultimately performance consultants.

Train and design great instruction, yes! But also work to ensure the knowledge transfer that will move your business forward. I’d love to hear from folks with success stories on how they accomplished this. I’ll pick up this thread in another post soon.

Linking Training to Performace

21 Mar

A course is just a course, but better performance is transformational.

Will Thalheimer, PhD, a big name in training and adult learning circles, has done quite a few short video presentations along with his articles, books, blogs and teaching. This is one of my favorites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdbReKzaYVY

It makes the strong case for looking at the overall job performance as the measure of a training program. The implication is that too many folks — clients, trainers and Instructional Designers included — focus on a course or curriculum rather than on performance outcomes.

It is too true. At times it is lack of time or vision on the part of course developers, but more often it is lack of organizational/institutional support (understanding!) for what training and e-learning’s mission really is.

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