Have You Ever Heard A Manager Say: Shut Up and Get With The Program!

Shut up and get with the program 15th December 2009 written by Margo Rose

How many times have you heard that one? Well, that’s short hand for “welcome to your next training program,” the beatings will begin. For years, learning in the workplace was seen as punishment that had to be endured. But, then came the magic bullet that would cure all our ills: Learning Management Systems. Oh that was going to fix us alright, I used to hear supervisors whine, until they realized that this timely invention would save the organization time, money, traveling expenses, facility expenses and consulting fees. EUREKA! Like a virtual flick on the forehead, companies woke up to technology, and suddenly online learning didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

According to Lance Haun @TheLance, “Generations don’t have to be managed differently, people have to be managed differently.” The same goes for learning. Generations don’t learn differently people do, and learning management technology suits people with different learning styles. However, with that said, millennial workers tend to enjoy 2.0 learning environments that include wikis, widgets, virtual worlds, games, and simulations. One of my Gen Y followers whom I respect, @JRMoreau said in a tweet, “Oddly enough, I learn better without structure. I’m more about having good resources rather being forcefully guided.” Here’s what the experts say: love them, hate them, learning management systems are not going away.

According to Janet Clary and Brandon Hall, Ph.D. there are 5 key trends for 2009 we should keep in mind. Before you get snarky, these hold true for 2010 too.

1. Mobile Learning

2. Do it Yourself Learning

3. Flexible Learning

4. Games and Simulations

Hall and Cleary studied top US performing organizations. They found that flexible learning environments, 2.0 tools and social networks met the expectations of millennial workers and boomers alike. There’s something for everyone, depending on the person’s learning style.

We will see the LMS transitioning from 1.0 to 2.0 platforms (and 3.0 in the near future). Some experts say that the flipside of a workforce that arrives already tech savvy is an expectation that the corporate world will demand. If we want to play the game, we have to play on the learning turf that includes wikis, and widget driven interfaces. We will see a trend toward the use virtual worlds for workplace learning, and virtual landscapes upon which they will take place. I don’t have a crystal ball, and I don’t believe in making predictions, but I do believe this: We will see feasibility studies that will further assess and measure the veracity of these systems.

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Comment by Julia Stone on December 18, 2009 at 6:26pm
Interesting Margo, I have been working on training based projects before and think that your assessment is pretty accurate. To be honest, you had me at the rockem sockem robots. I always wanted those....

Thanks for the info.
Comment by Charles Van Heerden on December 19, 2009 at 2:22am
Hi Margo, I think you pretty much summed a standard response from managers, eager to follow the part of least resistance. Research has demonstrated that a blended approach will be required for most types of training to ensure real learning, which is more of an experience than completion of a program.

HR needs to educate managers that learning also requires time out. Often, there are other benefits such as breaking down silo's and expanding networks.

We have seen banks going back to opening more branches to build relationships with their customers, as ATMs and on-line banking has made it harder to develop customer loyalty. Some lessons for HR perhaps?
Comment by Margo Rose on December 20, 2009 at 4:06pm
Julia and Charles:

Thank you so much for reading my post. I am grateful for your comments. You both make excellent points--and I have to thank recruitingblogs for the rockem sockem robots graphic.

Charles, I liked the analogies you made. I appreciate you for reading my blog.


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