The course model is so strong that L&D is servant to the course in all of its forms – live class, virtual, eLearning, etc.
Did Wheat Domesticate Humans?
In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari suggests that wheat domesticated humans rather than the other way around. Before the agricultural revolution wheat was contained to a small area in the middle east and today it grows around the world almost 10x the size of Britain.
Humans spent so much time taking care of wheat (e.g., clearing space, watering, weeding, protecting, etc) that it required us to settle next to the wheat fields and all of this extra wheat did not result in a better diet or more free time. Yuval also point out that domesticate comes from the latin word domus which means house.
Have Courses Domesticated Learning & Development?
L&D spends a lot of time on courses (e.g., creating, delivering, measuring, maintaining) and has created an infrastructure (house) to support this model. We have built a house so comfortable that it’s difficult to leave and less people are coming to visit.
Courses aren’t dead but their role in workplace learning is a smaller part of the learning experience. There is a big world of learning out there (in the work) and if you’re still primarily focusing on courses, you’ll be left behind.
L&D should be more nomadic and intentionally wander to where people can use the most support for their learning. This means downsizing your current course model infrastructure to make room for other opportunities.
L&D Should Intentionally Wander in the Gray Space
- Organizational directed – the organization initiates something (e.g., a new assignment, coaching feedback, a class, e-learning, support group, etc.) that results in learning.
- Self directed – an individual initates something (e.g., a new job, seeking a mentor, searching the web, talking with a co-worker, taking a class, etc.) that results in learning.
Each of these has common components (goals, observation, doing, reflecting, required, supporting) and L&D’s role is to help support learning for both of these perspectives.
Organizational and self directed are not mutually exclusive. They support each other -an alliance.
What Do You Think?
- Have courses domesticated L&D?
- Should L&D intentionally wander?
- Does L&D focus too much on organizational view of learning?