Friday, May 31, 2019

Organizations: keep an eye on your high speed learners

A participant during my master class on learning of the future shares: "I was learning a lot through the online world and would be at the cutting-edge in my field, this learning was logical part of my work as recruiter. Now I have a new job and it is not a logical part of my function. I don't have the time anymore to be active online. I see that I am no longer aware of all the new developments in my field". You will not get better proof of the power of online, informal learning. And at the same time it shows what the biggest bottleneck is: organizations do not have an eye for self-learning professionals and do not facilitate this type of learning either. The focus is still on courses.
The masterclass started with my definition of the knowmad: "someone who learns continuously and thereby makes smart use of the online world"
The first part of the masterclass I focussed on skills for knowmads, including developing (online) identity, networking, smart use of tools and technology and application in practice: translating the online world and applying learnings. The second part I discussed the organization as a learning environment for the knowmad. Although I do know that many organizations do not actively facilitate informal learning, it was quite shocking (but interesting of course!) to hear stories from the participants.

Two important things struck me:

The big challenge for professionals is to deal with information overload: people indicated that they continuous flow of all information and via various channels (emails, apps, Linked) makes them feel bad. The consequence of this is that they withdraw from the flows and start to avoid information, get rid of Twitter and only follow what is needed (emails). This is a logical response if you start to feel bad because of the flows of information, right? The entire group felt that they had no control over the many information flows. No participant worked in an organization that supports employees to take back control over the information flows.

Organizations do not have a keen eye for inquisitive employees, the high speed learners: that is why professionals often do informal learning in the evenings. This means, for example, that someone who works in a high-tech environment and constantly keeps up to date via podcasts and youtube videos may look for the new job after a few years. To what extent has the organization benefited from this knowledge development? As long as the employee works in the organization, he or she will apply this knowledge. However, it remains personal knowledge but does not become organizational knowledge unless there is a conscious focus on collaborative learning and sharing this knowledge.

An interesting question from a participant: innovation seems to be a keyword for knowmads who learn continuously, but not everyone needs to focus on innovation? I think it's a good question and I am not sure about the answer. There is definitely a difference between functions in their focus on innovation. A high tech environment for instance will have an inherent need to innovate. Personally, I think that actually there is no single function in which innovation is not necessary.  Contexts and technology are changing. The customer also wants something 'new'. What do you think?

The slides of this master class:


Jade said...

Lovely blog. Thanks for sharing with us.This is so useful.

Fred said...

Very interesting and helpful piece of content. Thanks a lot for sharing!