A Look Back At The Years Best From Workplace Learning

Workplace Learning by Mike Taylor

Last week I shared a look back at last year’s best from Learning Science And Instructional Design. This week it is time to review the best from Workplace Learning.

Workplace Learning

The 10 most read articles in the Modern Workplace Learning Magazine in 2018

Jane Hart (@c4lpt) is a regular in this space. Here are here top 10 most read articles of 2018


Why the future of work is learning

An interview with future of work strategist Heather McGowan (@heathermcgowan), on how organizations can prepare for a future of accelerated change.


Our Job is to Find and Fix Problems

Patti Shank (@pattishank) reminds us that our primary job is not to design content, although we may do so. Rather, our primary job is to analyze problems, create solutions that meet the real need, and monitor how well these solutions are doing so we can tweak or change them.


10 Reasons to Modernize Workplace Learning

Jane Hart (@c4lpt) talks about how the current training model isn’t able to keep pace with the speed of business and the continuous nature of change. In contemplating what changes to make, she lists 10 current issues and some brief points about how to deal with them.


Your Organization Is a Network of Conversations

This article by Steve Zaffron (@stevezaffron) and Gregory Unruh (@GregoryUnruh) really resonates with me. They talk about how conversation is the primary organizing principle of organizational management and that a company is the sum of all corporate dialogues or what they call a “network of conversations.”


Building the Modern Workplace Professional

There are two types of people. Those who are happy enough as they are or think they don’t have enough time and those who are driven and take the initiative to learn new skills themselves. One of my biggest pet peeves is people in Learning & Development say they don’t have time to learn new things. To paraphrase Seth Godin, if you don’t have time to expose yourself to the state of the art and doing the work of learning to think with the best, to stay caught up, to understand why do you think you should be treated as a professional?


The Need for Continuous Learning

This CLO magazine article is is yet another voice to add to the call for the need for continuous lifelong learning. “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the greatest competitive advantage.” -Jack Welch


A New Paradigm For Corporate Training: Learning In The Flow of Work

Work is learning. Josh Bersin (@Josh_Bersin) dives deep into this idea of learning in the flow of work and the fact that “…obstacles to growth are not always technical, they’re in our own minds. We don’t really use new technology well until we change the way we think.”


The Threat and Opportunity of Lifelong Learning

John Hagel (@jhagel) says that we need to “…avoid the temptation of many who say that lifelong learning is solely the responsibility of the individual who still needs to find ways to fit into our existing institutions. If we’re truly going to harness the power and potential of lifelong learning, we’re going to have to transform all of our institutions to help people to learn faster and accelerate performance improvement.”


This Is What I Believe About Learning in Organizations

In short, no matter what your job, learning is the work. Stephen Gill (@sjgill) talks about how the only sustainable advantage in our hypercompetitive marketplace is the ability to learn and adapt faster than everyone else. Companies that cling to management practices of a bygone era continue to fade away. They desperately need managers who empower people to seek out learning at a moment’s notice.

Yes, the purpose of business is to make a profit, retain customers, be sustainable, satisfy shareholders, and, for some, make a difference in the community. But none of this is possible without learning.


Conversations and narratives are the new documents

Don’t miss this one from Esko Kilpi (@EskoKilpi) that includes gems like this: “Change occurs not so much as a result of new information leading to individual learning but when the patterns of connectedness between individuals change. Learning as a result of the print revolution was seen as an individual process. Learning as a result of the Internet revolution is an active process of communication between connected people.”


Six Mindset Shifts Trainers Should Make

In this article Gary Klein (@KleInsight) relates that while most trainers mean well, they are holding on to mistaken beliefs about cognitive skills. Too many trainers rely on instructional techniques that can actually get in the way of successful performance and the development of expertise. (Via Harold Jarche (@hjarche)


Role of Customer Education in Driving Business Success

John Leh (@JohnLeh) shares what he sees as trends in “extended enterprise training”; that is, education that encompasses all of a company’s outside audiences. Personally, I’m happy to see so many organizations leveraging opportunities to educate as a key component of their business. Often the first to add value to a customer’s need is who they buy from and learning is a huge part of that.


Seth Godin: The Future Of Education And The Current State Of Marketing

Seth Godin talks with Dan Schawbel about the future of education, the current state of the marketing world, and how to thrive in the new economy.


What makes one team smarter than another?


Dr. Anita Williams Woolley talks about how we tend to focus on individuals when trying to predict team performance and how the research actually shows that measuring collective intelligence is a far better indicator of success than any individual’s performance. Important things to know for building smarter teams!

Adding females tends to raise a team’s collective intelligence.


5 Ways to Change Behavior at Work: The L&D Behavior Change Toolkit

If you want to influence behavior, this case study from Udemy has some tips for you. I particularly like the idea of a “nudging architecture”. If you like anything in here, you might also want to check out their upcoming webinar.


The New Science of Building Great Teams

This is an interesting and relevant finding from Alex “Sandy” Pentland (@alex_pentland)about the key to building great teams. Patterns of communication are the most important predictor of a team’s success. They are as significant as all the other factors—individual intelligence, personality, skill, and the substance of discussions—combined.


2018 L&D Global Sentiment Survey

Since 2014, Donald Taylor (@DonaldHTaylor) has asked L&D professionals world-wide what may seem a superficial question: “What do you think will be hot in L&D next year?” Dive in to see what this year’s Learning & Development (L&D) Global Sentiment Survey has to say.


To Keep Pace, L&D Must Adopt an Ecosystem Mindset

I’ve been thinking on this topic a lot lately and this ATD article by JD Dillon (@JD_Dillon) is a good illustration of how we should think about the relationship of learning and working in the modern workplace.


Top Tools for Learning 2018

Jane Hart (@c4lpt) recently wrapped up her annual Top Tools for Learning 2018 list. I find that a lot of people are surprised by the top tools on this list. Are you? Learn more about it and read Jane’s analysis of this year’s list.


Instead of Microlearning, It Should Be Micro-doing

If your not 100% sure what exactly microlearning is, don’t worry. As long as your you’re aiming for right-sized learning that ends with action you’re on the right track.


Building a culture of continuous improvement, learning & development at work

Jane Hart (@c4lpt) says that work now needs to evolve into three overlapping streams to support the three ways of learning.

  1. Promote Continuous Learning
  2. Create Modern Content, Events, and Experiences
  3. Support Continuous Improvement at Work


20 ways to prepare yourself for modern workplace learning

Jane Hart (@c4lpt) has listed 20 things that you, as a learning professional, will need to have done PERSONALLY in order to be adequately prepared to support new approaches to workplace learning in your organization PROFESSIONALLY. How many can you check off?


Introduction to Modern Workplace Learning in 2018

Jane Hart has just released a free ebook – “Introduction to Modern Workplace Learning in 2018” This is the first in a 3 e-book series that includes some (updated) content from Jane Hart’s (@c4lpt) including her popular Top Learning Tools and Modern Workplace Learning Toolkit.


9 Essential Principles for Modernizing Your Corporate Learning Ecosystem

If you keep up at all with the L&D field you’ve probably heard of JD Dillon (@JD_Dillon). It’s kinda hard to miss him — in a very good way. Take for example his recent e-book “ 9 Essential Principles for Modernizing Your Corporate Learning Ecosystem” which aims to help L&D professionals get started with applying essential modern learning principles TODAY – regardless of organization, resources or circumstances. There’s even an assessment that will help evaluate your organization’s current approach and where it falls on the spectrum between “Stuck in a timewarp” and “Seriously cutting edge”.


Learning in the Flow of Work

Josh Bersin (@joshbesin) gave this research-based presentation at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect Conference. He talks about a new learning model driven by machine intelligence, micro-learning, and new video and social platforms like LinkedIn Learning that are helping companies upskill and transform their workforces.


Psychological Safety and Learning Organizations

If you haven´t seen Arun Pradhan´s (@arunzpradhan) ¨Learning Agility¨ series over on the Learning Solutions Magazine site, you should stop what you´re doing and go read it now. Seriously, this is top stuff. In his most recent article, talks about how the knowledge economy and the need for teamwork have increased the need for effective collaboration and psychological safety in learning organizations.


Take Control of Your Learning at Work

When we can all retrieve the same information, the key differentiator is not access to data, but the ability to make use of it; the capacity to translate the available information into useful knowledge. Ironically, a surplus of information can create a poverty of knowledge. It requires curiosity and a hungry mind to resist digital distractions and have the necessary discipline to learn. Check out what else Tomas Chamorro-Remuzic (@drtcp) has to say in this HBR article.


How People Learn

How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures is a deep dive into the influences that affect individual learning. How People Learn II is a valuable resource that updates a previous version (How People Learn) that helps understand learning for educators of students and adults.


Wired Not Tired: Is Curation the Cure for What Ails You?


Turning Noise Into Knowledge

In this article, Lee Bryant talks about how turning content into knowledge, and conversation into learning becomes more important as online engagement in the digital workplace increases.


Keeping Up With Cardiology: Old-School Learning Versus the Twittersphere

“there’s an old saying that 50% of what they teach you in medical school is wrong. The problem is you don’t know which 50%.”

This article by Yael L. Maxwell (@TCTMD_Yael) is about cardiologists, but the lessons apply to us all. As we proceed through our careers “we should expect that things should be challenged and updated throughout our lifetime, and we have to be open to all different avenues. Critical thinking is more important now than ever before.”


Institutional Innovation

Modern L&D should “facilitate interactions & relationships, allowing organizations to increase the flow of information within and across their organization’s walls to increase learning, adaptability, and … innovations.” This article by John Hagel (@jhagel) and John Seely Brown (@jseelybrown) is a must read for how we should be thinking about the future of workplace learning.


Classroom training and E-Learning are the least valued ways of learning

Jane Hart’s (@c4lpt) survey shows that e-learning and classroom training are among the least valued ways of learning. The top of the list consists of daily work experiences (ie doing the day job) and Knowledge sharing within your team top the list, with Manager feedback and guidance not far below. How does this align with the work you do and how well do you think you are aligned with this data?


An Anatomy of the Modern Learning Professional

In this post, Nick Shackleton-Jones (@shackletonjones) implores us to let go of convention to reach our extraordinary potential. (via Ger Driessen’s (@GerDriesen) bi-weekly newsletter (Subscribe here) As a profession, we are a group of people with extraordinary potential: the potential to craft life-changing experiences or to design resources that help productivity and engagement soar. But we will need to let go of convention, and swim to the surface.


Learn better not faster: Why we are still struggling to become learning organizations

This post by Sofia Quentero (@Sofiaqt) really hits the nail on the head for me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with people that went basically just like this cartoon image above. In short, you are too busy NOT to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to learn new things.

A learning organization is less concerned about what it learns and more concerned about making sure everybody can acquire and transfer knowledge as much as possible and as easily as possible.


How Leaders Face the Future of Work

A big transition in the way people work is happening and nobody — highly skilled or not — will be untouched. See what Lynda Gratton (@LyndaGratton) sees as the keys to successfully navigating this new world. Hint: It involves a lot of learning!


Learning While Working Manifesto

Robin Petterd (@robinpetterd) and the rest of the crew at Sprout Labs in Australia have released a new version of their Learning While Working manifesto and framework that combines the 70:20:10 concept with design thinking and a learning ecosystem approach. I really love that they’ve incorporated John Stepper’s Work Out Loud principles into this. Bravo!

Download a copy

Why Organizations Need to Make Learning Hard

Research demonstrates that making training too easy for learners actually deters retention of material. What we need is “desirable difficulty”. The fact that people often suffer from “illusions of competence” is one of the reasons learning approaches such as case studies, scenario-based learning and others are more effective than the “tell ‘em and test ‘em” approach commonly used.

Download a copy

The future of work and the future of learning are converging

Sonia Malik (@malikmssz) shares some key takeaways from the recent Coursera Partner conference. For more conference highlights, check the Coursera blog and the Twitter backchannel.


Why Do Smart People Resist Positive Change?

Martin Burns (@MartinBurnsSCO) talks about how most change initiatives face active resistance from the people involved, and this usually goes far beyond the basic systems problem of The harder you push, the harder the system pushes back. If we start co-creating change with them, rather than doing change to them, we might — just might — get better results.


A Year of Learning and Leading UX at Google

Catherine Courage (@ccourage) shares her top 5 insights from leading UX at Google. I love her list. Hit the link to dig in a bit deeper.

  1. Smart should be the default, but engagement is what counts.
  2. Embrace speed (without intending to break things).
  3. Grow a peer network that’s authentic and supportive.
  4. “Googleyness”* still wins out. (*Replace with your company’s code for ethical conduct.)
  5. Be humble. But don’t be afraid to share your story.


The Evolution of 70:20:10 – Will L&D Survive or Thrive?

Detailed insights from L&D practitioners working in leading organizations about how they are getting to grips with 70:20:10 by @GoodPractice


Digital Learning Trends for 2019

What does 2019 have in store for learning pros? Check out these prognostications and some strong calls for more people-focused approaches.


Are you ready to start the workplace learning analytics journey?

In a six-part series, Trish Uhl (@trishuhl) offers insight to L&D professionals on the components of a workplace learning analytics strategy. Part one looks at how to get started on your workplace learning analytics journey.


What is Organizational Social Design?

Mark Britz (@britz) explores the question ““what if training was not an option?” and how to organizational structure itself may hold the answer to ideal performance.


If Your Employees Aren’t Learning, You’re Not Leading

What do you think about this? It really resonates with me. See what Mark Murphy (@LeadershipIQ) has to say about it his recent article including this little tidbit: “..only 42% of workers say they are always or frequently learning on the job, while another 39% percent say they are never or rarely learning.” I hope you’re not one of those people?


Collaboration is the Human Platform for Digital Transformation

Simon Terry (@simongterry) highlights that connecting people is what truly makes a difference when trying to do digital transformation…or virtually anything else for that matter! He specifically calls out these four things that make any platform work:

They connect people

  • They offer easy ways to reduce costs and the complexity of action (reduce “friction”)
  • They provide transparency and increase trust
  • They provide ongoing value


Knowledge Sharing Paradox

This is a ‘must read’ from Harold Jarche (@hjarche) about connecting personal and organizational knowledge. The knowledge sharing paradox is that enterprise social tools constrain what they are supposed to enhance. Why would someone share everything they know on an enterprise network, knowing that on the inevitable day that they leave, their knowledge artifacts will remain behind?

Enterprise knowledge sharing will never be as good as what networked individuals can do. Companies that develop structures and policies that bridge the individual-organizational knowledge-sharing divide will have significant business advantages.


Share to Learn

This post by Tanmay Vora (@tnvora) reminds me that you don’t have to be a genius to share what you learn. Just be yourself and share anything you discover, experience, read or anything else that worked for you or those around you. There is probably someone out there it can help. And by helping them, you’re helping yourself.


Motivating Your Employees to Share Their Knowledge

Take a listen to this Insync Training webinar recording to hear some real-world tips from JD Dillon (@JD_Dillon) on getting people to share what they know to helps others in the organization.


Ending The Myth Of Collaboration

This article by Paul Taylor (@PaulBromford) will have you rethinking your view of collaboration.
“A meta-analytic review of over 800 teams indicated that individuals are more likely to generate a higher number of original ideas when they don’t interact with others.”

Ending The Myth Of Collaboration

How (and Whether) to Invest in and Structure Online Communities

Building a thriving online community takes a great deal of effort, often with little return for a very long time. And there are other considerations: do you build your own platform, participate in an existing community, or a little of both? What are the benefits of a brand, SEO, and content marketing perspective? In this edition of Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin (@randfish) answers all your questions about building yourself an online community, including whether it’s an investment worth your time.



Published by Mike Taylor

Born with a life-long passion for learning, I have the great fortune to work at the intersection of learning, design, technology & collaboration.

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