CrowdThinking Project on L&D Professionalization

At the L&D Conference 2020, which starts in a few days (seats still available), we are hosting the CrowdThinking Project, a two-pronged crowdsourced exploration designed to create a future-vision for the L&D field.

You and I, as learning professionals, are effective–but certainly, if there were more and better structural supports within the industry, within our organizations, within ourselves; you and I might be even more effective in our work.


First Part

The first part of the CrowdThinking Project is a survey of people like you to gather data along seven factors that influence our effectiveness and professionalization.

  1. The competencies, skills, and abilities we have as professionals
  2. The requirements and training/education needed to enter the L&D field
  3. The feedback we get on our effectiveness (learning evaluation)
  4. The support we get from our trade organizations
  5. The support/guidance we get from our graduate programs and universities
  6. The support and constraints from our business/organizational stakeholders
  7. The effort, direction, and perseverance we lend to our own development.

I developed this survey with the help from Fernando Senior.

This survey is open to all L&D professionals. I ask you to share it widely with your colleagues and friends in the L&D field.

 

Second Part

The second part of the CrowdThinking Project will take place within the L&D Conference (sorry, only if you’ve enrolled). Fernando Senior will take us through a modified world-cafe-style dialogue, focusing on four key questions.

  1. Consider your current circumstances in your L&D work situation—and more importantly, how those circumstances will change as a result of future trends in learning, technology, business, and society. Given the future you imagine, what will be the most important challenges to your work in L&D?
  2. What capabilities will L&D professionals like us need to acquire in anticipation of these upcoming challenges—to maximize our level of professionalization and our effectiveness?
  3. Whether today or in the future, how can we L&D professionals evidence and document our level of professionalization or maturity—in ways that will be understood and respected, and in ways that will add to our effectiveness.
  4. What other factors—besides our knowledge, skills, and attitudes—influence our ability to maximize our effectiveness? And, how will we be able to utilize these factors in the future to support our effectiveness?

 

Third Part

We will generate a report or reports on the findings of the survey and the discussions with recommendations for how the L&D field can continue to maintain and develop professionalization standards and practices.


How You Can Help

The most important thing I’d ask you to do right now, if you are in the workplace learning field is:

  1. Complete the survey (it’s not short. It takes 30 minutes)
  2. Ask others you know in L&D if they would consider it.


Joining the Conference

The L&D Conference 2020 runs over six weeks, it’s going to be truly amazing, and it starts in a few days (June 22 to July 31). Here’s the conference website: https://www.learningdevelopmentconference.com/

This is my conference. I’m the co-host along with my podcast partner, Matt Richter.

I know it’s last minute, so if you have trouble getting the funding figured out from your organization and want to get started, feel free to contact me to see if I can help.

Use this contact page to email me: https://www.worklearning.com/contact/

Design Thinking is all the rage! Even now in the Learning & Development field. A powerful methodology if done right, but a process that can go wrong when applied inappropriately to learning design. In their new book, Sharon Boller and Laura Fletcher show us how to use design thinking right—when we apply it to learning design.

 

Background

First, a little background on design thinking. The folks from IDEO, one of the exemplars of design thinking, say this about their work, “Human-centered designers are unlike other problem solvers—we tinker and test, we fail early and often, and we spend a surprising amount of time not knowing the answer to the challenge at hand. And yet, we forge ahead. We’re optimists and makers, experimenters and learners, we empathize and iterate, and we look for inspiration in unexpected places.”

Let me highlight two key things: Iteration and Empathy.

Too often in learning design and development, we design in a lockstep ADDIE fashion, from point A to point E. Instead of rapid prototyping and improvement, we are so insular in our overconfidence, that we build learning that just doesn’t work that well.

We also have a tendency to trust our learners too much with their learning design intuitions, even though tons of research shows us that learners have large misconceptions about learning. Some of us have taken the empathy notion from design thinking too far, blindly trusting learners. The history of this goes back long before design thinking to the harmful optimism of Malcolm Knowles and his theory of Andragogy.

The Fix

Sharon Boller and Laura Fletcher have long been believers in evidence-based practice. Just as importantly, they spent years utilizing and fine-tuning their learning development processes to include design-thinking principles and techniques. In Design Thinking for Training and Development: Creating Learning Journeys that Get Results, Sharon and Laura blend evidence and practice into workable and pragmatic guidelines for using design thinking. They integrate the power of design thinking and eliminate the wrong turns that happen when research and evidence is ignored.

Even in the subtitle, “Creating learning journeys that get results,” you can tell that Sharon and Laura are talking about creating meaningful learning designs. They seek out learner data, but put safeguards on this process, including special review iterations, routine prototyping, and meaningful evaluation.

The Upshot

Boller and Fletcher, in Design Thinking for Training and Development, build a powerful tool-set for learning professionals. By augmenting Design Thinking with research-based wisdom and practical insights about learning, the book provides a new learning-development methodology—a worthy replacement for learning-neutral processes like ADDIE.

The book is available tomorrow on Amazon. Click on these words to get the book.