Manifesto

Learnworks is driven by some core values about what makes learning and development work.  In our manifesto, we outline what we believe in.   We think most of this is common sense – it’s just that sometimes sense isn’t all that common.  If you agree, get in touch and let’s see how we can work together

Learning is about enabling people to do things differently and to do different things

Change is central to learning, training and development.  When organisations require their people to change the way they do things or to undertake completely new tasks, some form of learning and training intervention is required.  But behavioural change – when new activities become habitual – takes time. It’s not one day in a classroom or one hour using an online module which powers that change.  Change is scary.  Wherever change happens, it will be people who make it happen or become the biggest barrier.  Wherever change happens, learning and development has made it happen. It requires joined up thinking and integrated activities to enable your people to make the change you and they would like to see.

People are different and the training they need is different too

If everyone was a homogenous every-employee, then designing training would be easy.  One course would enable everyone to be trained to the required standard.  Although we know instinctively that such an approach is doomed to deliver disappointment, work related training is most often managed as though this self-evident fact isn’t the case. To effectively deal with the myriad of different experiences, motivations, capabilities and expectations, we need a range of different interventions.  As many of them as feasible should be capable of being tailored to an individual’s needs – accessing different workshops, selecting alternative routes through online modules or working on discrete work-based tasks with a supportive mentor or coach.  If we are serious about improving performance we should harness the wide mix of options available.

Resources are not the same as courses

Resources and tools are everywhere.  The growth of communication technologies enables a library of unimaginable scale to be on everyone’s desk. But having access to information – assuming you can find what you need – is not the same as learning.  For learning to take place we need to remember, to sort things in our brain’s personal directory.   You may call your training all sorts of things – interventions, workshops, courses or modules.  But the learning process requires more than a seemingly inexhaustible torrent of data and opinion.  However you describe your training, a course which enables information to be processed and reflected upon, plans to be formulated and skills and activities to be tried out, is so much more than a collection of resources.  However, not everything needs training.  The modern habit of looking things up – the find, use and forget approach is fine, if potentially wasteful – but not for all circumstances.  Sometimes your people will need to learn things.

Evidence based techniques work best

There’s a lot of wishful thinking – or sloppy thinking – in the world of training and learning.  But enough research has been done over the last 120 years for us to understand a lot about how people learn.  The learning options may evolve and proliferate, but the brain is largely the same thing which enabled the dominance of the species of Homo-sapiens several millennia ago. Understanding the research which has been done empowers L&D professionals to make effective choices and contribute to the strategy of the organisation.  Undertaking research, evaluation, measuring outcomes and testing our ideas, contributes to the evidence base and our knowledge of what works in organisations.  Critical analysis of new trends, fads and psychological breakthroughs also helps us to deliver real benefit and become trusted advisors to our organisations.

Training and Learning is everyone’s job

We know that learning doesn’t only happen on courses.  We can all identify someone who taught us a lot – not through flip charts and formal presentations – but through their willingness to share their experience, to provide advice, give feedback or just acting as a great role model.  Too many organisations seem to operate on the principle that training is just the preserve of the L&D team.  It isn’t.  But if everyone’s doing it, why do we need an L&D team at all?  Because not everyone is and it’s not easy.  Courses and training programmes might not be the only game in town but they are the ones which attract the biggest crowds.  Focusing on the formal and ensuring that is as good as it can be, encourages the informal and ad hoc to happen; sets expectations that it will happen and creates an insatiable desire for learning across the organisation.

And finally…

People really are the organisation’s greatest asset

Every glossy annual report says so.  If this statement is to become more than simply a cliché which promotes rolled eyes and knowing smirks, every organisation must have a clear plan for development and maintenance of their greatest asset.  Building capability and preparing people for the future isn’t just nice to do in 21st Century organisations. It really isn’t optional – although survival and growth most definitely are!

For a more detailed version of this manifesto check out our resources page.