This week I’m interviewing Dan Steer, a freelance trainer and learning consultant from Belgium. I met Dan at the ASTD International Conference and Exposition in Dallas last month; to call Dan, “energetic,” would be an extreme understatement. We talked about “doing something” together online, which has become mutually interviewing one another over Twitter.
I thought it might be interesting to capture that interview as it evolves, and open the floor to others who would like to join in. That indeed has happened (and that makes this a pilot activity in L&D terms), so I had to change the title from, “Interview,” to, “In Conversation.” It’s also a bit of a challenge to keep the conversation threads together, so if you see something you added somehow out of context, let me know.
Feel free to join in the conversation. Ask Dan questions in the context of what he’s answered before (below) or responding as you see fit. I’d ask you to please include the hashtag #dansteer for my convenience, but that ship may have sailed. Such is the nature of social learning, who knows what the outcome will be.
Planning to wrap this week, so tweet @dan_steer with #dansteer tag today.
Tom: If L&D professionals (as a whole) were to focus on changing one thing, what should that be?
Dan: Do you mean “fixing something with learning” or “changing the way they work or working in a specific way” ?
Tom: As an industry, changing one thing to improve/enhance learning or performance improvement of target audience.
Dan: I think we must stop thinking about #learning so much and focus on achieving business objectives, whatever the method. Too many #learning people are disconnected from the real business drivers (+ see every problem as solvable with learning). It would be great if “learning” was placed (back) in the hands of managers. It is all part of leadership + perf mgt to me. FYI I am drafting a post on the competences required for learning facilitators today + in the future. Will publish soon!
Tom: Then do you see “#learning people” as no longer needed, needing to change, or needing to work differently with the biz? Also, how exactly do #learning people connect more with business drivers and focus more on outcomes than learning?
Dan: Everyone is a #learning person really! We need to help them take more learning action + responsibility. Today, learning people should focus on turning other people into learning people, not just on “programmes.” Have a look at my post on “helping people get better at #learning before setting them free”
If #learning people were everywhere in the business, that would already help… To focus on key drivers requires a little “business acumen” <link to Dan’s post> cc @acumenlearning If you can’t link learning to these business drivers or cannot express objectives in the same terms, you are not useful!
Tom: Your post and five competencies for people supports @c4lpt position that self-learning is critical skill for the future. How do you suggest L&D processionals help others develop self-learning skills and the competencies you mention?
Dan: Well, @tomspiglanin, that was the joke: They need some #training ! Seriously.. many adults don’t know how to go about formal learning alone. And schools should teach it as basic curriculum. Teach how to set learning objectives, how to self-coach, seek out feedback, gather+evaluate information in different ways.
Tom: Agree, and sad. It’s important skill that many seem to lack, and why is it lacking? Failure to see how things have changed?
Dan: I went through school without ever thinking about the learning process. All we really focused on was content. I also think a course in “scientific hypothesis testing process” could be a good basic one. Learn how to test things.
Tom: I love this, idea. As a scientist by training, I bring that approach to my work and my own learning. #SoMe makes it fast and fun.
Patti Shank (@pattishank): I agree that the most important outcome for “#learning people” is achieving business objectives. I believe that our role is to meet this outcome via performance-related interventions, which may or may not include training. I’d love to know how you see people in our field getting from the mindset and skills they have now to the place where they are effective helpers of this kind of change.
Dan: I will try to get my post “Learning Facilitator 2020” up nxt wk. They will need a whole bunch of competences still not yet well done by all #learning folk. I interviewed people on LinkedIn + Twitter asking which knowledge/skills/attitude they would need. examples: Visual thinking, statistical analysis, “new” media, networking, curation, “situational learning leadership”, social network analysis, business strategy.
Patti Shank: It’s going to be a hard road I think. These are not easy skills and many do not see themselves in this role.
Brian Dusablon (@briandusablon): There’s no such thing as a “learning” person. Why are we here? Learning happens with or without us. L&D is vendor-driven, and we let it happen. We need to ask “why?”, do real research, then design.
Patti Shank: @briandusablon Tell us more about what you mean by vendor driven.
Brian Dusablon: Look at events in this so-called “industry”. Way more about how to use a tool or system than how to do research, design. Compare to other industries, where focus is on UX, standards, accessibility.
Shannon Tipton (@stipton): “L&D” are biz partners. i.e business partner in learning etc. “ownership” is not the answer, business support is.
Tom: New Q. Tell us a bit about work you do for orgs, what excites you most about your work, and what are you most proud of?
(stay tuned for Dan’s response and more questions through 2013 June 30!)
This work by Tom Spiglanin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at tom.spiglanin.com.