(This is a collection of rambled thoughts – I’m still formulating what the question is in my mind so please humour me and go with the flow. I will find my way soon).
The role affords me opportunities to create all sorts of different content for both internal and external audiences related to change, adoption, communities and learning and it’s a chance to use a mix of things such as:
- Discussions and conversations using Microsoft Teams and other M365 products
- Curation – curating different subjects, topics of interest, links etc through SharePoint pages
- Community – where we “work out loud” and share the process of our work, learning and socialise using Yammer (as well as the Adopt & Embrace Academy which is a community of adoption and change managers around the world)
- Peer learning where we have what we call, “Hours of Powers” where our fellow colleagues teach, show, demonstrate their knowledge, skill and expertise to the rest of the team.
- (Side Note): I ran a session of 5 hours of powers for my peers recently on How to Build Your Virtual Facilitation Skills with Microsoft Teams recently as a blended synchronous and asynchronous program that blended all the elements above and one day, I’ll get to writing about this too but it’s now sitting on our Academy Community because I redesigned it again to be delivered as a self-paced program. If you want to be take a look at it before it goes to market, just DM me and I’ll send you the details to access.
However, recently there has been something else that I’ve done and been part of which is now throwing into the mix, a critical aspect of organisational learning and that is the delivery of on-the-job personalised and customised performance support.
Now you might be thinking, “Helen, that’s been around for YEARS!”
Yeah I know, after all, I’ve created tons of these in the past but back then, I, the HUMAN created them because I, the human, THOUGHT (based on some business needs analysis) what the business/department/team needed.
Things have changed. Humans aren’t providing that analysis. Artificial intelligence is. So performance support becomes MORE personalised, MORE customised and what you need, when you need it. Why? Because the system has been understanding HOW you use, interact and behave and offers specific support.
Wow, that makes Learning and Development redundant. Or does it?
My Mini Project
For the last couple of weeks, this has been in my head because I had gone off and done a bit of exploring. You know me, I like to check things out, explore, research, play around with stuff and I created a Product Comparison Matrix between the following:
- Microsoft Learning Pathways
- Nulia Works
- Microsoft Viva
- Companies that provide In-context Support and training resources that sit on Microsoft products
- Bespoke Custom Learning Providers (ie design your own learning solution)
What Question Was I Seeking to Answer?
I was basically answering the question if companies asked us, “Why Would I Use X over Y above?”
The problem is that Microsoft products are constantly being updated and workers need to keep up with these changes. In some companies, they want to provide training, support and resources to their people regarding the use of these tools and in particular, how they can be used contextually within the flow of work.
Although I’m not going to share the findings here of the comparison between the products, one thing was blatently and obviously clear.
The solution is not ‘training’ anymore. Nor is it learning (because this is something you’ll be constantly doing – or should be doing – in your work anyway).
So what is it?
My A Ha By Learning French
I’ve been learning French for the last 18 months and got my skill level to an intermediate level through a lot of hard work. I’ve committed hours to it and deployed a variety of different ways – everything from training, flash cards, repetition, oral and aural exercises, reading, writing.
Learning for me was an active and intense experience – and one in which I created for myself. I had abundant resources online and lots of people willing to help me out. I created my own learning pathway, I made a conscious choice to put myself out of my comfort level so that I can learn the language. I made time for learning.
Out of this learning experience, then comes knowledge because as you learn a new language, you start to appreciate the country, culture and history. You see different viewpoints and perspectives and the world opens up to you.
However, I’m left with the very last question.
After training, after the learning experience, after the appreciation of the new knowledge, what’s next?
What’s it all for? What’s it all mean for me? What’s it mean for others?
The realisation hit me that I need to be continually learning if I want to maintain and sustain the new skill and keep current so I need to have a BIGGER meaning as to WHY I’m learning French. The reason is that I value a country that also places reverence to the arts, history, culture and philosophy. In a way, it’s my small thank you to a country who values Greece – that is, hellenistic in its ideals.
And this is where I start to think that as modern workers, we have been through LOTS OF CHANGE.
To many, they are stuck believing that they need to be “trained” to understand the new world. But training means you’re behind the 8-ball already. Similarly, how much time does a worker actively use towards their own learning?
The realisation strikes us that we need to be continual and lifelong learners – integrating it into our work – but many aren’t even doing this because they are simply too overwhelmed trying to keep their heads above water doing their day to day jobs. (Then I read some inane article like this Graduates Should Expect To Work 12 Hour Days and 6 Day Weeks that I realise that we simply don’t get it.).
We can’t expect to keep throwing people into training events that take them away from their work; nor expecting them to create their own learning without giving them any support or guidance that is personalised and customised to their needs.
Let’s hope now that with data analytics we can glean how we use our work tools and technology so we create new ways of working. It means a focus on not just continual learning but meaning making.