Jay Cross helps people work and live smarter. Jay is the Johnny Appleseed of informal learning. He wrote the book on it. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. He has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix.
Google Analytics tells me these are 2012′s greatest hits on jaycross.com.
Dan Pink has written another best seller. (The book won’t be released until December 31 but is already in its third printing.) The U.S. Government reports that one worker in eight is a sales person. Dan disagrees. He thinks we’re all sales people, even though a lot of us are engaged in “non-sales selling.” Instructors, lawyers, doctors, bankers, and you and I spend a lot of time persuading, influencing, and convincing others to do something even though it doesn’t ring the cash register.
Organizations and their people are members of many different types of networks, for example, communities of practice, the company social network, and close-knit collaborative work teams. You need to optimize participation in all of them.
What do the following people have in common?
(They did not graduate from college.)
Here’s the overall prescription.
Could my outbursts against the computer be stressing me out? Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman has demonstrated that the slightest emotional transaction can color one’s mood for hours. And I was swearing at my computer whenever I hit a glitch, which translates into one rant every fifteen or twenty minutes throughout the day.
Would it make me happier if I stopped griping about the machine? I decided to find out. (It’s working.)
What does the phrase Don’t take this personally bring to mind?
Not being selected for the new project team?
Being assigned a task you don’t want to do?
Who’s kidding whom? These things are very personal.
The world of business is undergoing a profound shift. Workers are making more of their own decisions. They don’t want to be told what to do. They want to learn but they don’t want to be trained. Learning is shifting from top-down to bottom-up and sideways. Collaboration is replacing command and control.
It’s not that training departments have started screwing up; it’s that the world around them has changed. Training departments push training, while workers search and ask for the information they need. Both just want to get the job done, but they’re operating in different eras. The disparity creates a power struggle that the workers are destined to win.
Flipping Corporate Learning
More important for learning outcomes, the time spent in class can be put to more productive use. Learners convene to get answers to questions, discuss examples, put what they’ve learned in context, debate, explore, and extend their knowledge. Instead of passively listening to an instructor, they actively engage the material. Instructors, freed of the need to mouth the words of lessons, focus on helping learners understand things and coaching individuals. These activities can take place online, and people can learn from one another in virtual communities and support groups.