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3 Big Myths about Workplace Learning

People get hired to do a job, not to go spend two hours a day learning new skills in order to “stay competitive.” However, the issue of workplace learning is not actually that black and white, and presenting it that way is precisely what leads to misunderstandings. In an article for Chief Learning Officer, Todd Tauber shares data from his survey of 512 people about workplace learning, and he picks out three myths of learning from it:

  1. Workers don’t have time for learning.
  2. Traditional training methods, like classroom training and online courses, are obsolete.
  3. The learning function owns responsibility for employee development.

Three Big Truths

Although a separate report from Bersin by Deloitte finds that 88% of learning professionals do not think employees have or make the time for corporate learning, Tauber sees the opposite. His survey finds that people put 3.3 hours into self-guided learning per week, and they would spend even more time on it if businesses incentivized it. So it sounds like a “if you build it, they will come” scenario. If you provide varied learning and training opportunities that extend beyond an employee’s immediate job duties, employees will probably take advantage of them. And it will be to the benefit of everyone.

Likewise, classroom training and online courses are not obsolete, though it is all highly situational. In Tauber’s survey, 85 percent of people say they use a search engine to learn something for work each week. And indeed, if you just need to pick up a quick fact or two, “Google it” is the correct course of action. YouTube video tutorials and informative articles are all valid courses of action too. But for bigger skills, the structure of a class-like setting might be more effective. Additionally, we must also remember there is an older crowd who actively avoids or just does not understand technology many of us take for granted. They may prefer learning in a physical class setting for its own sake.

Regarding the final myth, Tauber shares this:

According to CEB, learning leaders believe that four in five workers are “bad at learning” — that they don’t know when to ask for help or share what they know, how to seek out relevant knowledge, or how to extract value from information. We are not so sure. … Just 21 percent of people told us they rely directly on their learning department when they need to learn something new for work, and only 28 percent said they search their employers’ learning management system first. Instead, they look to their boss or mentor (69 percent), their colleagues (55 percent) or search online (47 percent) much more frequently.

Tauber thus concludes that the learning function in organizations must evolve. It is not just responsible for building and delivering training; it must also empower employees to “self-serve” learning.

You can view the original article here: http://www.clomedia.com/2016/08/01/3-big-myths-about-workplace-learning/

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