Updated: Nov 22, 2019
Learning is the path to find new ways to gain skills and knowledge. To lead business in new thinking, new technologies, Innovation. Use the emerging technologies as enablers of new ways to create. Human success will be based around the 'leading creative thinkers' in the world. AI, Machine Learning, Robotics & Co-bot technology, is creating new potential.
Teach people to ask Why? Teach them how to explore the ‘Why’ and give them access to teachers, content of all types, coaching, information, learning resources to meet and deliver to that individual demand of the 'need to learn’. To use, and to understand the tools at their disposal.
Having spent a career in IT leadership focused on large Corporate, Government and Education, the last decade of which, almost entirely focused on Learning Management . I keep coming back to some basic thoughts about learning.
The challenges now, appear far more pronounced and more urgent. The learning outcomes, much less than expected, which leads me to ask..
Have we got it right?
Kind-of-a, scary thought, but one thing my experience has taught me, is to challenge every concept, every process, and consider it from difference angles – just in case it was wrong in the first place. Challenge, we have to, if we truly seek improvement. How many times has Einstein had his theories challenged, tested, proved and re-proved.
Will it happen again. Yes.
All my learning experience has shown me there exists a deep understanding in the Education and L&D worlds of the ‘Science of Teaching’. All aspects of the teaching world deeply engage with that delivery science. A science which assumes 'learning absorption' based on that science of delivery. However, testing is the only critical path to determine its delivery and learning outcome success.
However, if you were to flip one word that of ‘Science of Teaching’ into that of Science of Learning – I suspect this is where it goes wrong. In a sense the science of teaching, of learning delivery is not meeting the learning needs of either business or learner. If we seek change it has to be rapid, in a world moving fast into automation and robotics. AI emerging in all fields - business learners need new ways to learn new skills, to up-skill from where they are now, or re-skill themselves based on those emerging new challenges.
The science of teaching focuses on correct delivery of ‘content-to-be-learned’, subject matter delivered to learners in the right way – the core principal is therefore, ‘this is what they need to know’.
Don’t want to be prodding committed education folk with this, but what if teaching subjects to learners this way, was just wrong.
What we really needed to focus on, was to ‘Teach people - How to Learn, teach curiosity, develop the will and desire to know more, understand more.
Are LMS’s failing to meet the learning need of its learners, because they are just following the same path to deliver learning content (your digital teacher) to meet the business demands of ‘the staff must know this’.
Is it simply from an LMS perspective, that it’s a push technology. Only to ‘tick a learning box’?
When it needs to be a ‘Pull Solution’ drawn upon by people who want to learn, need to learn. The focus, not on the content alone, but designed to meet the individual need to explore the chosen subject. They are humans after all, needing to meet an inherent desire to learn more. To ask Why?
Teach people to ask Why? Be curious. Teach them how to explore the ‘Why’ and give them access to teachers, content of all types, coaching, information, learning resources to meet and deliver to that ‘individual demand of the need to learn’.
I imagine University staff throwing things at me now, shouting, “that’s what we do!!” Ok if you do, and I don’t care to challenge that notion. However, I do ask, if that is so, why then do the highly educated people leaving University with degrees, entering their chosen commerce path. Fall behind in their skills and relevant workplace subject knowledge. This after a few short years? Possibly passed by others, maybe lacking in a University based education, but having a deep seated ‘desire to learn’. To build new skills, to up-skill and re-skill.
I want to ask you here, name someone to yourself. Someone you know or think is an expert in their field. Do you believe they would have reached that level of expertise from just what they were taught?
Hasn’t our global test with LMS’s over the last 10 years or more proven, that just because you want me ‘go to a designated place and sign-in'. Search. Find a course, take that course, then leave that place having learned. That it may just not happen. Not happen because, I don’t care to, or, its not a validated, or motivation driven action.
LMS’s are scoring learner return ratios of 3 – 6%. Figures that are not demonstrating much inherent will to learn. Learn only what you want me to know.
Hasn’t the Hermann Ebbinghaus, ‘The forgetting curve Hypothesis’, proven that putting me into a room teaching me with sound teaching processes and principles. Still won’t keep that information locked-in to my brain for many days or weeks.
And yet still, organisations take people out of the ‘line-of-work’ – teach them new ideas and concepts for a few days. Returning them straight to the normal pressure of work – expecting them to change and deliver in new ways – in most cases it largely fails, without sound follow-up processes. Like spaced repetition learning, coaching, and building on the ‘individual will, and need’ to learn more.
We need to build the ‘Why is this so’ questioning in individuals. Meet the basic desire to 'learn more' with content, access and resources.
If we want ‘challengers to the norm’, to encourage Innovators and creators in our businesses. Develop Strategic thinkers, Subject Matter Experts.
Re-think learning in your Business.
In case you’ve forgotten, that hypothesis was published first in 1885…
Thanks for reading!
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