Standardized Education Doesn’t Work at Work

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Standardized education doesn’t work at work (school either). We don’t have space to cover deficiencies in our children’s schools but we are clearly increasing the homogenization of learning through the standardized testing process. Is this homogenization carrying over to the corporate education world because it’s easier?

This article isn’t for learning and development department folks. Instead it’s to get the wheels turning for other leaders since learning and development often takes direction from line leaders.

Some people can learn Microsoft Excel in a general class. Conversely many become proficient only by using the software in a real life situation, learning a feature when they need it. Should we really make that person sit in a two day class?

How about leadership education? I am a faculty member in a few leadership university programs. The challenge always arises when we get beyond broadcasting information to facilitating thinking.

What do we do about different cultures? Training in China and training in Austria should be different, right?

Does your learning scale?

Training is an investment. An expensive investment. It would be great to buy training in bulk and reduce cost. Some actually try to do this. We’ve worked really hard on this problem using technology to reduce costs and improve delivery, in conjunction with creative learning techniques.

It’s not a trivial problem. The important consideration is not to think Learning Management System (LMS) and we’re done. Technology is only the answer if we’re smart about it.

Think user experience first and scalability second.

Everyone Participates

Take a look at your educational offerings. Can everyone participate? What does it mean to a resource if they’re excluded from certain training? Is that the message you want to send?

One of our clients is currently adding targeted innovation education for their IT department. We created a combination long-term learning experience that involves video lessons, internal coaches, and small-team practical application.

I believe strongly and teach that innovation is a bottom-up endeavor. What does it say if everyone, every single person, doesn’t participate? For congruency, everyone must participate and we have to solve that problem or we miss the point.

To Do:

  • Communicate about results you want.
  • Map to improvement in behaviors you’re already measuring.
  • Communicate about the process you want.
  • Lead the education effort – be visible.
  • Don’t settle.
Is the training done? That’s the wrong question. An alternative: Did applicable learning occur?

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Jim Canterucci

I don't know everything. But I want to. The focus of our firm, Transition Management Advisors, is to develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

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On May 19, 2015
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