The Long-Awaited Change in Learning


I recently finished a book, called Simpleology, by Mark Joyner and some parts of it resonated with me as an L&D professional. Joyner shares a few simple and straightforward rules of success and happiness that have helped the greatest minds to achieve their goals.
I’m not writing a book review in my post; it’s merely sharing two of the rules that made me think about what we are doing and trying to achieve as IDs, & L&Ds.

To get things we want, we do strange things, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. That’s ok! If nobody tried anything new, we’d be stuck with the same old things and that would make life boring.

The very first thing that crossed my mind after reading this sentence in the book, was the numerous meetings and discussions among my team and other L&D professionals whom I’ve met in person or online. We are aware of what improvements we should make, but we simply wait! While we think that change is good, we still fear it might not work. Looking back at the educational transformations since centuries ago, there have been significant changes in the way educators look at learning and knowledge transfer, but why is it that we should wait for a large number of people trying out something, instead of us being the first to try? Jane Bozarth answers it very well in her latest article, The Cargo Cult of Training.
Further, based on Towards Maturity research report, we still think management should decide for staff training, as if staff is not capable of choosing what and how they should learn. In point of fact, staff motivation relies more on their progress during their career rather than a pay raise. While the latter is important to all, the former has a stronger impact on keeping the staff motivated in their work. But we still do the same thing which is the NORM.

In a different part of the book, Joyner lists the difference between Science and insanity:

Science: Try it, pay attention, if it works, great. If not, we can try something else. Take notes.
Insanity: try it. Don’t pay attention. If it doesn’t work, keep doing it over and over again anyway. Notes not recommended.

Is L&D science or does it fall under insanity? I leave that to you to choose.
Since a year ago, I’ve been involved in a number of voluntary projects (related to instructional design and training) for charity institutions, and this has been the most rewarding experience. The majority of us choose the kind of contribution that we’d like to make with different NGOs for our own personal growth and motivation, but if companies encourage their staff to enhance their performance through voluntary acts, it will be both personally and professionally rewarding, motivating, and engaging for the employees. After all, isn’t learning by doing more impactful?