Jan 022016

21st Century Learning

21st Century learning – Jane Hart: Why We Should Drop the ‘L’ word from Workplace Learning

21st Century Learning – in Informal Learning, Smart Teams by Stephen Walsh


Tom’s Comments:

(1) There is the way that individuals learn, long term, adaptive skills that advance individual, sustained performance improvement and (2) then there is traditional one size fits all training, that at best, provides individual, initial, superficial understanding, which is soon forgotten, for the middle 30%.

Innovative, individual, adaptive learning is (1) above, which is somewhat rare.

Traditional one size fits all, event based teaching is (2) above, which is very common, in all respects.

Use (1) if sustained individual performance improvement is your desired outcome.

Use (2)  if you don’t care if your participants get anything useful out of your content.

Integrating Sales Training (Individual Learning, over time) with Sales Implementation (Individual Reinforcement, over time) to advance Individual and Organization Sales Performance:




21st Century Learning – Jane Hart is one of the leading voices in how learning is changing. For over 20 years she’s advised leading organisations on how to improve their performance. Jane is the also the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), where she runs the very popular Top 100 Tools for Learning list from the votes of learning professionals worldwide. Her blog is a go-to place for insights on performance and learning. Recently she’s been focusing on Modern Workplace Learning, the title of her new book.

We caught up with her to find out how learning is changing.  First off, let’s stop calling it learning. stop calling people learners, and stop calling it an L&D department. Change is coming…

You recently wrote a blog post on how the L&D world is splitting in two. It got quite a reaction. Why did you write it and why did people get so fired up?

I’ve written a lot about moving forward and change and what the modern workplace looks like, so I was a little bit surprised by the reaction, but it is what I was seeing. I work with organisations all around the world and I’m tapping into what’s going on, and I could see that things were dividing in two in L&D. There were people talking about change but not doing very much about it, just tweaking what they’re doing, just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic as Bob Mosher said.

Then there are other organisations who are saying we need to fundamentally rethink what we’re doing, it’s not about tweaking what we’re doing, we’ve got to make big changes. As one of my clients said “If we don’t change we are going to be changed”. They’re doing things differently. It’s slow but they have a different mindset, they are radically rethinking what they need to do to be appropriate for today’s workforce. So on one hand you have people saying, well, let’s just add a little social and informal to our training but not really doing anything.

So these are the two different approaches I’m seeing, and in a later post I went on to say that this is a mindset thing. This is not a continuum, it’s not about gently modifying what we’re doing, it’s about rethinking our role as an L&D Department or Learning Department in an organisation.

For some people in L&D teams, this shift towards workplace learning is scary – should it be?

People who are worried about it cutting down on their role – I think they’re wrong. I think it’s actually about expanding their role. There will always be a role for formal stuff, making courses, facilitating – I don’t think that stuff is ever going away. But I think there’s potential for doing other things, so the role becomes more about enabling and supporting in other ways, working directly with managers, teams and individuals. It means having a more personalised approach, working to create a more personal, bespoke learning experience for people, rather than the one size fits all approach. Also it means becoming more performance consultants, so really understanding problems and helping people to solve performance problems, by themselves or with helps.

There’s also a role in helping people learn more effectively, to become better professional learners. So these are all new skills and opportunities, and maybe some traditional trainers or instructional designers may not want these roles, but if If L&D chooses to take that role it’ll become a more valuable part of the business. Part of the issue right now is that L&D is not seen as valuable, it’s painted into a corner as the training department, whereas I think they could move to be more about business support role. It can open up a lot more potential for L&D.

21st Century Learning – Read the entire article, here


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Tom McDonald, tsm@centurytel.net; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752 21st Century Learning