This article was a the top of my list from top articles on learning from 2013.  There are so many goodies here that I’m afraid I would plagiarize the entire article if I commented on everything I like in it.  Before I comment on the top excerpts I will offer a few general thoughts.

For years I have sensed a change was at hand in the learning world.  The days of event-based training programs were coming to an end due to the growth of social technologies and informal learning.  As a learning professional, the marketplace has changed.  A training/consumer is not dependent on proprietary learning programs.  In fact, those kind of large scale interventions are obsolete.  The resources (time, budget, personnel) required to develop these types of programs are unwieldy and outmoded.  I first realized this in the late 90s when I was developing CBT.  The development cycle for one 4-8 hour course was 6 months.  The training I was developing was for early Internet technologies.  Even then, before the days of perpetual beta, the technologies were evolving within that 6 month time frame.  As a result, we should have been planning the course update as we released the course.  If that was the case 15 years ago, how much more is the imperative for just in time information now.

The excerpts below address the issues I raise and more. NOTE: L&D stands for learning and development which I prefer of training.

Equally, I asked myself, why would people prefer to get information and learn through the intermediation of their L&D department if they have the alternative of doing so faster and more easily from other practitioners and colleagues, or people in their network who may or may not work in the same team, company or country as them? Especially if they can gain that knowledge and expertise without leaving their desk or workflow.

The answer, I believe, is ‘they wouldn’t’.

Under this view, Learning and Development has to change its focus from a provider of information to an enabler of information access.

[P]eople will only know that through developing a level of trust in their sources of information and learning. And they will develop trust relationships by using the information, advice and expertise they’re provided with.  If they find it helps them get their work done better, faster or smarter then they’re more likely to ask again, and a competence trust relationship builds.

Embedded in this approach is a commitment to learn and pursue expertise.  Not only does the L&D department have to change its approach, but the learner has to take a more active role in their development.

L&D specialists should be focusing on understanding critical business problems that are being caused by underperformance and then working with stakeholders to design the best ways to solve them.  This may, or may not, involve designing, developing and delivering physical or virtual training, eLearning or some other intervention.

This is why I am certified in Human Performance Technology.  If an intervention does not address or solve a critical business problem than it may not be worth developing.

[P]eople “will always use the easiest and fastest way possible to find information”. If they have difficult-to-navigate interfaces, or if anything gets in the way, then they will go elsewhere if they think there’s an easier option for them.

This is a critical challenge to L&D.  I am a strong proponent of lean design.  As the author says later in this paragraph, “If Google created any obstacles, it would not be first choice.”