- Wie wij zijn
- Wat we doen
To the Next Generation of Learning Professionals
21 mei 2012
Dr. Allison Rossett is one of my favorite people in our profession, and the entire world for that matter! She has single-handedly done more for our industry than most. I admire her dedication to research, her dedication to educating the next generation of learning professionals, and her dedication to the overall Learning & Development industry. I recently read a wonderful blog posting by Allison entitled “My commencement address for the workforce learning class of 2012”. Great stuff… AND, as Allison’s work usually does, it got me thinking. In honor of Allison, I thought I would also take my shot! After all, this is important stuff! Here’s my effort at contributing to the dialogue: Bob Mosher’s “Commencement” address to the graduating Learning Professional’s class of 2012.
“Congratulations on your start on what will hopefully be an amazing career! You have just completed your studies and are about to enter one of the most exciting, innovative, progressive, impactful, and rewarding fields!... Actually, that depends. It can also be one of the most boring, close-minded, backwards thinking, stubborn, and self-centered industries ever! What makes the difference? What YOU choose to do with it!
I have been at this for almost 30 years now (29 to be exact) and have seen it all. We have an amazing opportunity to impact the organizations we work for, and more importantly, the learners whom we serve, in ways that can be life-changing and have a global impact. Pretty profound stuff! That, however, comes with a cost and a level of responsibility that not everyone is ready for, nor do they choose to pursue. You will find the same to be true of your learners. They, like you, have a choice to either engage, or to coast. I would recommend engaging! It will be like nothing else you have ever experienced.
In my travels I have been fortunate enough to have seen and learned a lot, often the hard way. Here’s my effort to ease your journey a bit by passing along a few nuggets.
- Always be a Learner first, “Learning Professional” second: This field is ever changing. The “tools” of our trade are many and in a constant flux. The classroom of yesterday is the iPad of tomorrow. Both Learning theory and delivery will be constantly changing. Don’t settle. Don’t fall back on old tried and true ways. The learners that once sat in front of Mager, Skinner, Bruner, Dewey, Knowles, Senge and even Rossett (to name a few) are NOT the same learners you will be challenged to engage tomorrow. That’s not to say that the learning theory of yesterday is not applicable, but probably not at face value. Keep learning! Keep up!! Challenge the status quo. Don’t settle. Listen to your learners. BE a learner yourself. I once asked a room full of e-Learning developers if they would use their own stuff to learn. The silence was deafening and then the “chuckles” were many. That was a sobering moment. The days of forcing learning down a learner’s throat are gone.
- If your work isn’t about Performance and Sustainment DON’T waste your time: “Finding” Performance Support saved my professional career… literally! I was done, or naively felt I had tried it all. I had done most everything possible to training – I taught it, e-learninged it, digitized it, virtualized it, videoed it, printed it, mp3’d it…if you can think of a deliver medium, I had crammed training through it! But in the end, my efforts fell short. Why, because training is a means, not an end! It is only a small part of the learning journey. Depending on what percentage you believe, our learners spend well over 80% of their time trying to perform, learn, innovate and grow on their own… “without us”. If this is the case, why has the learning industry spent so much of its time not helping them there? It’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s where work gets DONE. It’s what pays their salary, feeds their families, and promotes their career. In other words, it’s where things TRULY matter. L&D has known that for centuries. You will live it every day. Yet, we’ve ignored it as an industry. When you get out there, Stop! Pay attention! Don’t build training to teach, and create job aides if you have time. Instead, build Performance Support application, transfer, and sustainment solutions first, and then backfill with training if needed. If nothing else, at least train them on your application, transfer, and sustainment solutions. The knowledge will come. The days of knowledge having any shelf-life is over. We live in a world where knowledge is changing at an alarming rate and will only get worse. It’s not about knowledge dissemination. It’s about knowledge aggregation. Performance Support is the “L&D” of the future. If content was King back in the 90’s, CONTEXT is the King of the millennium.
- Find your heroes in both your personal and professional life, and zap them for all you can get, give back in return, and honor them by passing what along you’ve learned!: I have been fortunate enough to have had five heroes in my life; four of whom are still living. One of them works with me every day and helps me maintain this PS community – Dr. Conrad Gottfredson. One just retired from SDU – Dr. Allison Rossett. They have unselfishly given much of themselves to me. I have done my best to internalize what they’ve taught me and pass it along. As learning professionals we often feel we have to have the answers. After all, we have the degrees and take pride in staying current (See advice #1). That doesn’t mean we know it all or even should. We have a responsibility to not lead blindly, but we have an even stronger responsibility to model good listening! The MORE I learn about this field, the more I realize that I only understand a small part of it. We can’t go at this alone. Others have done great work. Find them, befriend them, learn from them, and then be like them… Every day I try to be more and more like my heroes. It’s a lifelong task, but one I’m committed to.
I wish you well! Learning isn’t easy. If it was, you wouldn’t be needed! BUT you are needed – BADLY! Don’t feel overwhelmed by what lies ahead. Embrace it, enjoy it, learn from it, and for the sake of your learners be REAL good at it!! Their livelihoods depend on it…”