"Similar to the way sales are customer centered, the new approach to enterprise learning is employee-centered. There's a change in focus. Learning is not an event but an immersion experience in the company's information, vision, business model, teamwork, culture and values. Gaining an edge in the competition for talent means aligning the company's learning experience with the employee's desire for lifelong learning.The learning experience must be a dynamic experience."
Kevin Wheeler, Global Learning Resources
The "Window into Talent and Learning" offers a view of the learning landscape 2001-2005. The implications for enterprise are significant. First, a company's approach to learning may be as important as salary and benefits in winning the competition for talent. Second, learning can make the strategic difference in developing an efficient, innovative workforce at a time when workers are increasingly likely to cycle through many different enterprises during the course of their career.
This website examines many features of talent support and learning, beginning with the major shifts in what it means to learn -- effectively -- in the 21st century. Industrial era corporate training focused on "how to do" but in the information age the focus is "how to think." Competence today includes the ability to continuously learn, work across demographic and geographic boundaries, and create meaning along the way. Instead of passive receptacles for information, learners are active participants - learning by solving real world problems.
The goals, techniques, and motivation for learning are radically changing. Some schools and universities are altering their curriculum, but many people will not be prepared for the workforce -- and those who are prepared will be looking for engaging learning opportunities on the job.
The following four "shifts in learning" are changing education, learning and talent support for the 21st century:
The "basics" in industrial era education were the old fashioned 3 R's: "Readin' Ritin' 'Rithmetic." Future competence requires mastery of the 5 Cs: Content, Conversation, Connectivity, Collaboration, and Context. Connectivity and bandwidth enable enterprises to develop competent and innovative workforces within learning environments that promote instant information access, peer support, global teamwork, critical thinking and skill development. The following list outlines the shifts in learning programs that embrace The New Literacy:
From: The 3 R's To: The 5 C's
Classroom OR Virtual
Looking for the right answers
Face-to-Face AND Online
Asking the right questions
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Continuous Learning: From Static to Dynamic
In their new multiple-enterprise career trajectory, workers will be dealing with ongoing change in work processes, knowledge, technology, environments and regulations. Some may be prepared for the workforce in school but many will be learning new competencies (along with the psycho/social attitudes) on the job. It will be up to individuals to continuously learn. They will be attracted to enterprises that support them by understanding the nature of continuous learning. The following list reflects the shift from the old "fill 'er up" notion of delivering training to ongoing learning efforts that support lifetime learning:
From: Static To: Dynamic Push
Linear road (K-12,college,workplace)
Critical Path (learn,regroup,learn,regroup
Active/Integrated with work
"How" and "Why"
A la Carte
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Re(de)fining Culture: From Inherited to Emerging
Studies have found that stock prices increase for mergers that successfully blended cultures and the reverse for those that did not attend to cultural cohesion. At Iowa State University, Professor Sam Demarie cites research pointing to the strategic value of defining culture, including an article in Organizational Dynamics in which Toby J. Tetenbaum states, "companies that managed their cultures well versus those that did not showed revenue increases of 682% versus 166 %, stock price increases of 901% versus 71% and net revenue increase of 756% versus 1 percent.". (Autumn, 1999)
Individuals and networks are weaving new culture with chosen components of the past. Anthropologist Geert Hofstede has defined culture as "a pattern of thinking, feeling and potential acting a person learns over the course of a lifetime". Enterprises -- particularly involved in mergers -- can do so consciously, weaving a unique culture that resonates with customers and with workers who are looking for new patterns in an increasingly themeless world. The following list outlines some features of re(defined) cultures:
From: Inherited To: Emerging
Consultants who describe culture
Historic Cultural Traditions
Tolerance of different Cultures
Workplace versus Life Culture
Culture Analysts who dig deeper
Mix and Match/Blend Traditions
Expose people to different ways of thinking
Intensity and Frequency of Interaction
Embracing different Cultures
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Global Perspective: From Multi to Inter
Stories abound about fateful cross-cultural missteps leading to broken trust and awkward communications. Most enterprises have made the shift from "mono" to "multi" in terms of tolerance and appreciation for different ethnic and geographic groups of people. The next phase is "inter" in which a deeper connection occurs among people across geographic, cultural, ethnic, and economic lines. The challenge for companies is knowing what they do NOT know about other cultures, so they do not fail due to ignorance.
Learning programs increasingly are building in sensitivity to diversity. New "translators" are being used by many e-learning companies to present information and employee manuals in such a way that the context is clear to people who have not grown up with the assumed knowledge of the home office culture. The following is a snapshot of the shifts in perspective that are driving successful global enterprise:
From: Multi To: Inter Home Office Translates Ideas
Enterprise translates learning program
Work norms reflect home office culture
Tolerance for diversity
Assume understanding of "bottom line"
Local Interpretation of Enterprise
Attention to gestural/subtle cultural cues
Enterprise revises learning for culture
Stakeholders dispersed geographically
Weaving in diverse cultural symbols
Understand different meanings of "work"
Recognizing value of differences
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