So what does Charles want to talk about? What are the key challenges that organisations face today? Change is increasing everyday and we need to keep emowering our workforce to keep up with change and keep building their capabilities. We don't do training right - we, in fact do it very inefficiently. Charles is going to present a model on experiential learning that really works and hopefully he'll share some empirical evidence for this as well. Nom, nom, very exciting.
Charles asks us to think about some of our most significant learning experiences and to think of where they occured. For me most of my learning happened at work. Charles has picked up my favourite example to explain experiential learning. I use the example of how we learn to ride a bike - we got bare minimum instruction, but we learnt from experience, failure and reflection. We didn't real a manual or go through detailed training -- we just did it and learned!
"Learning is all about action. It's not about storing stuff in your head." - Charles JenningsThe Trouble with current Formal Learning Approaches
Much of formal learning is content rich and interaction-poor. We learn to know but we hardly learn to do. I called this the phenomenon of growing the knowing flab vs building the doing muscle. This is the big problem with formal learning programs in organisations these days -- if there's a best practice, content rich training works. OTOH for most knowledge workers, it's an interaction rich approach that's crucial, because it prepares us to face complicated and complex problem domains and thereby deal with novel and emergent practice.
Most away from work training and learning leads to the phenomenon of the forgetting curve, because instruction out of context leaves nothing for workplace performers to remember and apply what they've been "told".
Most of the participants like to get involved and try things out. They like to have dialogue and discussion. They like presentations which are organised according the logic of how they work and learn. They like to experience how things work. This is amble evidence that proves that people like to learn through interaction, working with others and real experience.
Real Adult Learning
Humans like other animals learn through experience, practice, conversation and reflection. Real adult learning is about acquiring new ideas from experience and retaining them as memories. Instead of structuring learning around content, we need to structure them around creating learning experiences.
Charles is now introducing the 70:20:10 model from the Princeton University which says that we learn 10% from training, 20% through observation and 70% through real experience. This is a model, not a recipe, but has significant evidence about this.
70:20:10 is a framework for thinking outside classes, courses and curricula. Most organisations spend their money on the formal training curriculum, where the bulk of the budget should ideally go to helping people learn from experience. A lot of the evidence comes from the initial assertions by Jay Cross and then from studies by Capital Works , Education Development Center at Massachusetts, US Bureau of Labour Statistics and Institute of Research for Learning. Charles will give us more evidence and studies later.
Incorporating 70-20-10 in Value Based Learning Strategy
First things first, this is only a model and not a silver bullet. The percentages are only indicative. So Charles recommends that we don't get hung up on the numbers and focus on the context because implementations will vary with the problem on hand.
"Informal learning is generally more effective, less expensive and better received than it's formal counterpart" - Jay CrossThis is quite understandable, given that you're very very unlikely to see behaviour change through classroom sessions. OTOH, this is extremely likely to happen with the constant "interventions" that informal learning creates for us.
Most managers say that they learn through informal chats with colleagues, search engines like google and through trial and error. This is some real research from Good Practice.
Charles mentions that thinking 70-20-10 requires a mindshift and cultural change whereby we can, as learning consultants help our organisations understand and be aware of the opportunities we need to create in the workplace people to pick up and hone the skills they need to grow. This means working with businesses to create sizeable investments in informal learning, getting managers involved and development driven performance management.
Charles also suggests that we include 70-20-10 thinking in the competency framework of various job families. This is something we've tried to implement via the concept of learning paths. Charles suggests through that we go a step forward where we list out recommendations in each area of the 70-20-10 model for each role to seek out their development through experience, observation & feedback and formal learning.
The Role of Managers
Managers are strongly involved in the development of their people. Not just Charles and I, Esther Derby says so too. Managers have the most impact in terms professional development and the mindset of "let's throw them to the trainers", takes away a lot of responsibility from leaders. The corporate leadership council has research that says that people who work with managers that are committed to developing them, outperform those with less involved managers. (I think that's what I saw, though I could be a bit wrong)
Working with team member through learning logs, coaching regular feedback, and goal setting are crucial skills for managers.
L&D's Readiness for 70-20-10
The focus of L&D has to change:
- Moving from maintaining catalogues of courses, etc to managing workscapes.
- Moving from designing and developing materials to supporting learning experiences in the workplace.
- Moving from a course centric approach to a performance centric role.
- Moving from predominantly classroom and elearning driven approaches to a multi-channel, multi-modality approach.
- Finally we need to move from a learning focussed approach to a performance and productivity focus.
Great stuff from Charles, I really liked the stuff he's mentioned and this resonates with my own approach in L&D. Thank you!