From training to learning

Informal Learning Conversations

I came across the article From Training to Learning by Brigitte Jordan via two sources yesterday. It was written c. 1997 based on ” … a common discourse, carried on for the last several years at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC) and the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL).”

In a fundamental way, all work is about learning: it is about learning to fit in and to collaborate, about learning to take initiative when appropriate, it is about really understanding customers, about acquiring intimate knowledge of the products and services the company sells and how they can fit into customers’ lives. Acknowledged as such or not, learning has to be an integral part of work. But, somehow, integrated [work+learning] activities have become split into the separate spheres of [work] and [training] which have come to be dominated by quite different interests.

This article synthesizes my own work practice and is a hot internal topic at the Internet Time Alliance. It covers:

  • Why Conventional Training Doesn’t Work Anymore
  • Shifting the Paradigm from Training to Learning
  • Learning is fundamentally social
  • Informal learning is crucial in the workplace

This makes the argument for change a bit easier, in that informal and social learning in the workplace is not that new of an idea and actually we’re a bit behind the times.

From Training to Learning is a highly recommended read.

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