Leadership development: Learner-centric development

April 29, 2015 by Wally Bock

Leadership development has learning at the core

Leadership development is a collection of learning experiences. Some (a few) happen in classrooms, but most happen in the workflow, taking on the challenges of the day.

How learners connect with learning

Learners should be able to find, select, and use learning experiences without formal organizational help. That doesn’t happen very often. Too often our people have to choose options based on a catalog description, then apply for a program, and hope that it lives up to its billing. The only thing we don’t ask for is a permission slip signed the employee’s parents.

Put the learner at the center of the experience

Sharlyn Lauby wrote a marvelous post suggesting what we should be doing. She compares the experience of using and consuming training, with other consumer experiences. Here’s a quote from Sharlyn’s blog post: “Make Corporate Learning Resemble the Online Shopping Experience.”

“In today’s business world, we say that the buying experience must be customer-centric in order for a purchase to happen. The customer experience is key. Same goes for learning. In order for corporate learning to be engaging, it needs to be learner-driven. For some of you that might not sound very new and revolutionary. But the reality is (as much as we want to and should) we don’t always design training that way. Sometimes the objective drives the design or the budget drives the design, instead of the learner.”

Sharlyn makes five suggestions based on that line of reasoning. You should read the post for the details, but here’s a list of her suggestions.

Give employees a single source for training
Let employees see training evaluations.
All training is voluntary.
Embrace mobile.
Provide employees with systems that have great search capabilities

In other words, do for learning at your company what Amazon does for buying books and a host of other products. Make it easy to find what’s available. Help the customers or learners compare offerings so they can make informed decisions about what to choose. Make the learning as easy as possible.

It seems so simple. Why not try it?

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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