I just finished ASTD’s conference, Telling Ain’t Training. As usual, it was jam-packed with information, some of which I agreed with, and some of which I wasn’t too sure about. However, what is really interesting to me is the use of the web 2.0 technology in training. As the instructor, http://marcrosenberg.com/, explained, web 2.0 technology is using the power of the web to create social learning situations. Not the formal classrooms that we think of, and even more than the virtual e-learning we’re used to (a virtual classroom, or a wbt course). Instead, these new technologies will act like the person in the cube next to you…a community of practice to answer questions you might have. Blogs and wikis to allow learners to learn from each other. Social networks to connect people to each other, all to facilitate learning.
Of course, my first concern was “oh my goodness, I’m out of a job!!” But then I started thinking about it. Would I really be out of a job? Or would I be the person who was championing these technologies? Would I be the one encouraging my learners to learn from each other? Would I move from trying to cram dry information that they may or may not want/need into their heads to a position of teaching them new ways to learn, so they can go out and learn what they need to in order to succeed…at whatever they want!
Think about the freedom and power that training professionals would have in this new world! No longer would be limited to SAP, diversity, mandated courses. Instead, we would “light the fire” in our learners to learn! It’s like when you were in high school, or grade school, and you had that one special teacher…you know the one. They didn’t really focus on the spelling tests and vocab tests and arithmetic drills. Instead, they opened your mind to the possibilities of what that knowledge could do for you.
And that, in a nutshell, is what I want to do. I want to open my learners’ minds to what they can achieve if they use what I’m offering them, regardless of what the offering is. PeopleSoft? I’m don’t want to teach them, “click here, click there”. I have job aids for that. What I want to teach them is “if you use this software correctly, here’s what it’s going to do for you! You know how you hate this one thing you have to do every day? SAP, when used correctly, will eliminate that task from your daily routine.”
So then the question becomes how do you weave these technologies into the training departments offerings? Many of you may be in organizations that are leery of these innovations. Many of you may be leery yourself. So as Marc said, “start small”. I mean, I did. I started this blog. It’s easier than I thought, and actually a lot of fun. I think my next step is to take one of the web 2.0 technologies, and try using it to encourage 1 small part of learning a new software.
As I wrote that last sentence, I was struck by my language choice. I had started to say, “try using it to train 1 small part of learning a new software.” But, here’s the thing — web 2.0 isn’t about training, it’s about learning and encouraging and working together to find an answer. That is what I want o focus on in my training and teaching. I want to encourage my learners to find the answer. I want to encourage my learners to talk to each other. I want to encourage my learners to try something new.
As I always so, things can be better. Notice I don’t say how they can be better, just that things can be improved. Is web 2.0 going to improve training and learning in corporate america? We’ll see!