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Monday, November 16, 2009

Be Ready to Take Advantage of Opportunities

I participated in a session at DevLearn that I mentioned last week in my posts Missed Opportunities and Enough Tools for Now. The session was conducted where we broken into discussion groups around different topics each their own facilitator.

My group discussed that as learning professionals we need to put ourselves in position to be able to serve learners and internal/external clients through the best possible solution we can design and create given the constraints that exist. This might mean improving our capabilities around existing offerings. It also means getting ready to offer new kinds of solutions that are outside of what we currently deliver.

The challenge in this is:

  • There’s a very wide range of possible issues that we can be presented. It’s often hard to know ahead of time what your next request will be.
  • If we haven’t spent time and effort to be ready to offer a particular kind of solution, it’s harder to sell, harder to estimate, and has greater risk.
  • We have limited time and resources to spend trying new things out and putting ourselves in position to deliver them when needed.

Some of the specific suggestions that were made by the group:

  • Build strong internal networks and relationships in order to develop predictability and agility for the learning organization
  • Have discussions with lots of different parts of the organization in order to have a better sense of what’s coming in the future
  • Figure out what this means in terms of business / learner needs, likely requirements, and constraints
  • Get the key people in the room to brainstorm potential offerings
  • Build prototypes to learn and later be able to sell
  • Start real small on a project with no major impact
  • Learn to be a Translator – often the barrier is different language being used by different parts of the organization.
  • "Sneak it in"
  • Share among distributed learning organizations
  • Form a framework of offerings

The nice thing about this list is that it follows a process that I recommend around defining an eLearning Strategy.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this group or helped me last week via this blog to get prepared.


Paul Angileri said...

Hi Tony. I think this is a good synopsis of the issue. I can definitely fit the present problems with missed opportunities and tools into the items enumerated here. I might re-formulate the first suggestion to read more as: "Build strong internal networks and relationships in order to develop predictability and agility for the learning organization." I think doing this not only empowers, but can also present opportunities for the very things we want to address.

Jon Aleckson said...

Hi Tony:
Great reflective post on a conference session! Training departments need to work harder to serve stakeholders during tough economic times. You may want to review my latest post on Teams & Interactivity as it relates to offering up higher quality eLearning.

V Yonkers said...

The glaring thing missing from this is the learner. Where do they come into this and what control are they given over their learning?

Tony Karrer said...

Paul - that's a good reformulation. I've added it above.

Jon - good post.

Virginia - this all happens in service of learning needs and learners. I'm not quite sure I get your question. To provide help to learners in particular ways, you need to get ready to do that.

V Yonkers said...

I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't see a mechanism to harness the opportunities learners themselves identify as their needs. It just seems that a lot of the issues you are discussing are top down rather than from the bottom. How do you bring in the learner (and perhaps the tools that they might use but others don't know about in the organization)? For example, how do you identify and address employee technology phobias?

Anonymous said...

I think thats a great overview. A learning system has to be developed to withstand the changing needs of any organization of today.

I feel that many times, the main issue which arises is the non alignment between learning methods and learners. The content and the teacher might be excellent, but without a strong inclination to the method at hand, things can become very difficult.