New Work = New Learning?
In our session on New Learning at the Petersberger Trainertage 2019 “If I really want to change something…” we put forward the thesis that most development programs today do not create the right conditions for behavior change. Consequently, they do not fulfil their actual purpose.
We demand new behaviors from the participants – and don’t change our own approach?
This applies in particular to development programs intending to prepare participants for the “New Work” world. This requires certain conditions – which are the same one necessary in the future world of work:
- Co-designing the working environment and its processes. For training programs this means the joint design of learning processes and teaching methods.
- The active development of learning agility as a fundamental competence for the future
Trainers and consultants on the one hand and customers and participants on the other, need to redefine their roles. Together they then design a development process,
- which not only makes implementation possible, but explicitly requests and promotes it.
- with program elements and sequences that focus on self-responsible learning with various tools, resources and approaches.
New ways of thinking and attitudes are needed – caution: co-designing participants!
For successful implementation of the learnings at work, other stakeholders, such as the participants’ managers or collaborating colleagues from other departments, often need to be involved. The application should be expected of the employees and explicitly requested and supported by their managers.
A program that promotes learning agility as a fundamental and transferable future competence must offer room for individual and joint shaping of the learning process as well as time for reflection and experimentation. Social learning, i.e. in practice groups, at the workplace or in reflections, is an essential building block. Working and learning from and with others is also part of learning agility and a basic prerequisite for many jobs in the future.
What for? Without experiencing the meaning for oneself, nobody changes their behavior!
Too often today development programs are seen separately from the world of work: The development goals are pursued disconnectedly from the actual purpose of the program. Regularly the purpose is not clarified at all!
For example, a program can aim for more openness, collaboration and creativity. Actually, the customer wants to increase the innovation rate by X%. For this, they want to jointly develop ideas and experiment quickly in order to detect errors at an early stage. But often it is unclear how the development goals of the program will contribute to the increase of the innovation rate – to the clients and consequently to the participants!
Also, no mechanisms are created for the successful application or measurement of the concrete impact at work. Learning therefore does not take place where it is meaningful: in the workflow, or in relationships with colleagues. If I do not notice that it could help me, why should I change anything?
Blended Learning – the Emperor’s New Clothes reloaded!
As a rule, participants still have virtually no influence at all on program design and learning elements. This has nothing to do with learning agility, but only perpetuates traditional teaching approaches – although often embellished by using digital tools, which is supposed to give the appearance of a modern “outfit”.
At its core, however, the didactic approach remains the same – namely that learners are primarily viewed as consumers who need to be motivated, entertained and instructed.
A development program that truly empowers participants for the future therefore means
– loss of power for trainers
– a more difficult role for consultants
– and much more commitment and a broader understanding as a stakeholder in the learning process for the client.
Thus, it is easier to marvel with the masses how wonderful the emperor’s new clothes are…
If you have any questions or are interested, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org, Munich: +49 89 388 99 749, Cologne +49 221 169 18467