There and back again…

It has been some time since a new post has arrived upon the happy shores of Learning Hacks.  The reason is I have been on a journey.  One that took me all the way into fiery depths of HRBPO, showed me wonderful people and desperate places.  My 20 months spent with an HRBPO provider was an enlightening trip which unfortunately also required the suspension of my rantings here so as not to have them confused with my “real life” or my employer.  20 months exploring possible new innovations in learning.  20 months listening to clients talk about their learning joys and learning sorrows.  20 months looking at the rising demands on learning and the hopeful responses. 20 months asking one question over and over again…

“Why does this all seem so hard?”

We know more everyday about how the brain works.  We know the value of diet, exercise, yoga, smiling, hugging affect our ability to learn.  We understand how to use color, scent, sound to improve retention.  We know how to get a million people to like something on Facebook and how to structure an infographic for maximum impact.  Yet if you look at the enterprise learning industry you would see very little of this very knowledge at work on our behalf.

Data as finally begun to seep into our industry.  HR people are reading Moneyball and learning the difference between causality and correlation.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Daniel Pink does a TED talk about how sales commissions are not an effective incentive.  Science has shown this repeatedly yet business has largely ignored it.  Pink’s exploration of this dissonance is an example that exist even more broadly and profoundly in talent.

“There is a difference between what science knows and what business does.”

– Daniel Pink

Learning is too important to the success of our world to leave anything off the table.  Local optimization, things like building better elearning, is not enough.  We must look to optimize the entire learning stack. This optimization requires a broad net.  Neuroscience, sports psychology, yoga, quantified-self, marketing and other domains must be mined.  Assumptions must be discarded and results must be our guide to what is right.

Since the start this blog has served as a platform to capture ideas and start discussions. My focus has always been on the organizations tasked with the job of delivering learning.  I left the learning itself to the side since I was not a trained instructional designer.  I now know that to be the very reason why this blog must now look at the training itself.  We can no longer survive by improving the buggy whip.  It is time to start building a car.

Daniel Pink’s TED Talk can be found here.


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