Thursday, February 11, 2010

Learning to change culture

To me, culture seems like gossamer, hard to touch and see; even define. It can be oddly attractive as it settles around you, even comforting. Yet it can pervade the environment so surely, that when something needs to change, it may as well be fishing line.

So when myself and Tony Gleeson  were planning how to prepare our session on ‘Changing your organisational learning culture to ensure eLearning adoption’ at this week’s eLearning Connected Forum (Ark Group), we knew we needed to challenge our own thinking about what that means.

The priority of the session was to get people talking, to light the conversational fire. And as well offer something of our own experience into the mix. We framed the conversation with a statement that we hoped would get people talking, even from polar opposites. So we put up one slide that said ‘eLearning as we know it is dead. What do YOU think?’.

We talked about the changes that are happening around learning: social learning, informal learning, participatory culture, virtual spaces, next generation elearning. Our focus was that the people in the room held the keys to understanding these issues around the discussion themes:
  • Value: what is the value of next generation elearning to your business and employees?
  • Audience: what (and who) is the right audience for next generation elearning? Is this just for 'the young people'?
  • Change strategies: what change management activities would you use to implement next generation elearning successfully? What would you do to break down resistance to change?
I loved the energy in the room. It was clear that people wanted to get talking as soon as possible, because once they started, it was challenging to get them back into the room for the group sharing bit! (thank goodness for microphones).

I noted the main themes on the whiteboard…

And some of the take-outs:
  • It’s about being truly ‘Learner-centric’: ensure the value for the audience
  • What creates value for the learner? There are now more options to suit learner needs
  • Learner determines the meaning: connectedness is the key
  • Create hunger and intrigue; then learners will identity value for themselves
  • The language we use needs to change too
  • Next-generation elearning helps to maintain equity for those in remote locations
  • Its not the age of the people, its the age of the organisational culture that is the issue
  • The power of networks: we need to value this, use & extend it
  • Be more inclusive of IT people: involve them in strategy development, planning, etc
  • Lets drop the ‘e’ from ‘elearning’
  • It's about knowledge generation
  • The ideal learning culture is emergent, collective, with transparency

Self-directed learning came up a lot in the conversation. I like this – I think it’s evolving where there is much more choice about when and how we learn. Learning doesn’t even seem like learning; it’s just part of the flow. Our own preferences can drive the learning. We can participate and be involved. Culture change starts with us.

Did I miss anything?