Monday, December 16, 2013

Guest Post: 6 Ways To Change Your Learning Culture

We'll excuse the Pinterest typo just this once, Dos Equis man. 
"When you were growing up, you probably spent hours sitting in a classroom listening to teachers deliver lecture after lecture in school. Now, as an adult employee, the thought of sitting through company training seems boring, unproductive, pointless and wasteful compared to actual work you could be doing. And if that’s what you think, your colleagues are likely thinking the same thing." - Nate Magnuson 

I'm excited about a first on this blog -- linking up an article that deals with education in the workplace. This post specifically focuses on the idea of what company training could be with a new corporate culture, not just a "hot new strategy".

This post was written by a Bryan College friend (like most of my guest posts!), Nate Magnuson, who is a leadership development professional. He and my husband lived on the same dorm hall for 3 years and he is one funny and focused guy! I highly recommend you check out his personal website

The post of Nate's I wanted to highlight is called 6 Ways to Change Your Learning Culture. In it, he details how companies who don't embrace the fact that education is happening beyond training days are missing out on a lot of potential from their employees and volunteers.   

Here are some of the "old" ideas he seeks to move beyond in the workplace: 
    1. You can only learn when you go to training events
    2. The person leading training is the "expert"
    3. The company is in charge of the personal development of the employee
    4. Sweep mistakes under the rug  
    5. You can assess learning by tests
    6. If you pass the test, you're done with training
If you have ever been to a training seminar, you will probably know instantly why many of these methods of training can be outdated and unhelpful at times. They don't promote an attitude of lifelong learning. In fact, I recently published a blog post that featured a video of a teacher who says that $600,000 was used to train teachers for 2 weeks on technology. She details what the training consisted of (e.g. one WHOLE day was finding out what kind of "penguin" she was) and it sure didn't sound like money or time well spent. Stories like these aren't just cropping up in our schools though. They are happening at large businesses, small businesses, and non-profits. So why do we persist in doing the latest training trend devoid of a context of "culture" for the organization? A good leader will set the tone for its employees. 
I'm not saying that these 6 things never have a place in training, but considering the shifts that Nate suggests wouldn't be a bad idea if you're looking for a new workplace culture. Generally, I'm a late adopter for most any kind of technology, but I know the way people communicate with each other has rapidly changed over the last decade. I have more people ask me insurance questions through my personal Facebook than on my professional e-mail. You roll with the technology changes while creating an environment that promotes healthy, productive interactions (whatever that may look like for your organization).    

Feel free to share a time when your professional training has been unproductive or productive because of the learning culture.