In todays L&D landscape, the way businesses determine who should participate in what training isnt far away from some sort of conjuring act. More often than not, the result of this is a mixed bag, and many of the L&D professionals I speak to tell me that the L1 scores (based on the Kirkpatrick model) are more often than not tending towards the lower end of the spectrum.
There are typically two ways a business determines training participation. One is based on mandated training (usually related to promotion/growth), while the other is nomination by the business manager. Both of these are based on picking up from a ‘menu’ of available programs, and neither really takes into consideration the actual learning needs of the individual.
This is where the idea of predictive learning comes in. The idea here is simple … today, with the technology available to us, especially in the Big Data/Analytics domains, the data about what has worked in the past in what context is available to the organization in a large scale. This data is available based on training, HR, and operations/business data. This rich data can be leveraged to determine what is the best training solution which would likely work in a particular employee context. Like Big Data, this neednt look at the reason (or connection) between cause and effect, rather, look at the linkages as they have been seen in the past.
An important aspect of this picture is that this shifts the focus from training and learning, and from L&D to the individual learner, and makes the entire process people-centric.
One concern with this, though, could be that the outcome of the requirements could be way too granular, and too tailored to individual needs, so as to be unviable from the delivery perspective. More about this later …
Read a nice blog about innovation here. Thought would write some thoughts that came, reading this:
1. Innovation != Invention. Innovation is not the same as inventing something new. It could be about finding new ways of doing the same thing, or using the same way to do different things. How many of you have opened a beer bottle with a spoon? Would you think thats an innovation?
2. Innovation != R&D. Seems to be a corollary of the innovation != invention idea.
3. Innovation != Glamour. Not necessary that innovation create something new, something glamorous. Often times, its also about doing day-to-day things much more effectively, or efficiently. There was a picture a friend had shared on facebook of a guy connecting the drain of the AC with the input of the cooler … water out, water in. Not glamorous, but would you say this is innovation?
In a nutshell, innovation, i feel, is a simpler, more effective, more efficient way of solving a problem. And this way need not necessarily come from a particular team or part of the business. Thats why, crowdsource … innovation is about first identifying a problem (and problems or customer requirements arent always easy to identify), and then to find a solution which is feasible, and which works. I feel both of these make up the idea of innovation. What do you think?
A few days ago, came across this article about the CS221 program offered by Stanford online. You can find more programs here. I found these quite fascinating. Somewhere, these present a changing face of education … or do they? I suppose this change started with MIT putting their courseware online. Then there was academicearth, which i thought was a sort of game-changer given that here, we didnt just have the courseware, but the entire lecture series video-recorded, and posted online. This meant anyone with an internet connection could be there, could learn from the some of the top universities, from anywhere in the world. Then there was Khan Academy … a game-changer in terms of the sheer scale Salman Khan has been created over the last 6 years (please dont look at these chronologically, am just trying to build the sort of continuum of changes which i feel have contributed to a possible new direction for education), and then there was classroom videos posted on youtube. Amazing, wouldnt you say?
These have a way of changing the way education is delivered going forward. If you look at the scenario today, teachers at a university deliver the same lectures year after year to a different audience. Instead of having to do this, teachers could video-record their lectures, and post them online, to be available to students. On their part, teachers need to be able to be available to guide research, mentor Ph. D. folks, and (probably the new aspect here), manage the learning process. When talking about managing the learning process, am talking about creating, managing, kindling conversations among students, guiding and mentoring students to enable them to learn more beyond the classroom lectures, and facilitate learning outside the classroom, in an ongoing way.
The next part, of course, is how this changing paradigm of education can be leveraged in the business scenario to redefine the training landscape. Any thoughts?
Reading a blog today, and I was reminded of a discussion I had a few days back. I opened the blog, gazed through it, and thought that maybe I wouldn’t be able to read it. It looked quite long, and I wasn’t sure I was quite up to it. This is not to say that the blog wasn’t quite nice … Its just me getting into old age.
So what was the discussion I talked about? This was about management books, and why I usually don’t get around to reading them. This is because before I think about reading a book, I usually read the summary of the book on the back cover or the inside flap. From what I have seen, most books give you an adequate idea of what the book is about, anmd the book itself is a lot about specifics, illustrations, etc., which means I can gather quite a bit from the back cover.
Which brings me to what I am writing about … And this I will try to keep short, for reasons obvious.
If you can’t express yourself adequately in half a page, you probably can’t … I feel if you have understood a subject, you can describe it in very little, and shouldn’t have to write on and on about it.
This, I feel, is something to training much more … Explain a concept in a simple form, and with illustrations, build more around the concept in chewable layers.
Continuing on the topic of context … anyone who has studied Hindi (i know this of CBSE board in India, though i would think this would be there of other boards too) would not have been able to escape the concept of the Saprasang Vyakhya. So what is Saprasang Vyakhya? Lets translate, and try to see the significance.
Saprasang … prasang translates into context, so saprasang means within the context.
Vyakhya … vyakhya translates into definition.
So, even as students, when we interpreted poetry, or dohe (couplets), we did not just define the meaning of the poem as it occurred to us. Rather, the entire definition was within the context. And this is something important to understand. One thing that comes from here is that the definition doesnt stand outside of a context. In other words, without the context, the definition itself may not be totally clear, or, one could say that without context the same poem could be interpreted in totally different ways by different people. Or, the meaning of the poem becomes a bit obscured withou the context in which the poet has written.
This is true of most stories. the same story, seen from different contexts, or different viewpoints, may lend itself to completely different tellings, and to completely different interpretations. Take it out of its context, and its meaning either changes so completely that you would have difficulty trying to identify the story, or it completely loses its meaning.
And this is the role of context in any form of knowledge. Without it, there usually isnt knowledge. The way i see it:
Information + Context = Knowledge
In other words, context is what converts information into meaningful knowledge, something which we can understand, internalize. And yet, a lot of KM doesnt look too closely at context, or not as closely as we ought to, i suppose. What do you feel?
Ever walked into a meeting room which has been used by folks before you, who have left their scribblings on the whiteboard? Even if you can read what they have written or drwan, its usually quite difficult to understand what they must have been talking about.
This is about context. In this scenario, you have the content, but not the context, and it is a combination of the two that helps to understand, thereby creating knowledge. The context, in this scenario, would come from the discussion that would have accompanied the content that went on the whiteboard. There is some meaning attached to what’s there on the board without which the information is incomplete.
I feel a similar thing with presentations. If someone, in replying to a request sends you a presentation, you would find, more often than not, that you aren’t able to understand much. Notes with the slides help to some point, but the context of the information can’t quite be put in the slides.