A couple of months ago I published the post Work-based learning (based on work by Niklas Angmyr and Charles Jennings‘ “Re-thinking workplace learning“) and the time has now come to update the model presented and take it to the next level. In short the change can be attributed to:
Beneficial knowledge is nice to have but
beneficial behavior is what gets you results
Let’s start at the top left. The classic L&D sector is the blue box of competence building activities. Here I’d suggest one would place activities described in the post Multi-Layer Learning, i.e. not only formal ones like classroom training but also informal stuff like communities, role-modeling and databases. And yes, by saying that the top blue box is the classic L&D sector I also say that L&D often doesn’t do anything else of what’s shown in the model above. This model is more applicable for a department working as a Knowledge and Performance Partner than that of a Learning and Development department.
Competence building activities could be utilized before work is initiated by the employee – but it isn’t a must. Some people like to interpret their task or work activity by themselves and in most cases this is completely fine since nothing really bad can happen. I’m not talking about airplane pilots here as you might’ve figured…
While the activity or task is interpreted and later performed it’s important that the employee get as much performance support and usable tools as possible, just in time, as well as getting an overall support by the organization. The latter is where the Kirkpatrick’s organizational Drivers come to play. Instead of demanding that all employees must take a certain mandatory course the organization could choose to provide with guidance, support, encouragement and tools to interpret and perform the work activities correctly.
In these stages of doing (interpreting + actually performing) it is also important that you evaluate the work and the results themselves. Was the activity correctly interpreted? Could it be performed correctly and within the timeframe? Was the end-result what we wanted? All of these are stated within – and compared to – the Leading Indicators (also a Kirkpatrick term by the way).
When the performed work and its result are evaluated and measured this forms the basis of the reflection stage, which is where learning is extracted from work (Charles Jennings words). The learning from this is shared with colleagues and perhaps with those in charge of education. The reflection also needs the analysis of how the performance support tools worked (was the database complete?) and if the organizational drivers helped at all (did your manager support you?). The learning from the latter is shared with the Knowledge & Performance team to create and/or update new tools and support.
This isn’t rocket science by any means at all. It’s all about the fact that we shouldn’t add learning to work but more of extracting learning from work. However, we must lift our gazes from the training/learning swamp and start getting with the program of actually getting things done. It doesn’t matter if all of the learning is formal, informal or abnormal.
If the critical behavior isn’t present – no result will ever come of the performance campaign.