With the recent news of LinkedIn’s purchase of Lynda.com I thought back to a recent discussion I had focused on the future leaning organization and the transformational model of learning. Stretch you say? Here is where I see an interesting future for workers of all ages and challenge college’s (with their associated costs/debt) and learning & development (aka “training”) organizations to fit in this new world where the next job is found on a social media site connected with peer professionals and where the desirable skills needed for the role are in the same place.
Transformational learning focuses on task-oriented problem solving and determination of cause and effect relationships and how individuals communicate their feelings, needs and desires. This process puts the locus of control to the learner to choose what to learn and grow.
From the designers perspective this may be a new challenge however I believe this is where we need to be from the academic to professional setting. Here is where performance learning becomes one when the needs of a role can be defined, then developed and assessed in a real, contextual (“authentic”) manner. Why create competency-based courses? (to improve performance!)
Adults, the largest community of learners, want contextual understanding, a critical reflection on assumptions, and validated meaning by authentic assessments. We work in cross functional teams that need timely information and want solid and creative solutions. Whatever you might call them we use the 4Cs in projects, product development, process re-design whatever your organization does and we need to create environments that not only focus on skill-centric learning but “c”-centric as well.
This leads me to ways to develop and deliver content that allows the individual to demonstrate their skills, their ability to perform, their competence. You may think that this seems straightforward for technical programs or the sciences but how can competence be measured in the 4C’s, the arts, in communications? A colleague posed the question what a “C” grade in English really means, does it reflect my ability to write this post just “okay” sometimes? I would challenge the designer of learning, no matter where they work, to push EDU’s and BIZ to actively collaborate on for what success looks like and begin the assessment process based on the skills that must be used in the successful performance of the role, to demonstrate what it takes to be successful.
Finally we need to develop and value a transparent learning path that links credentials, whether certificates, degrees, and/or badges, with skills and knowledge that can be demonstrated and applied in the individual’s life, rather than with using “seat time” as the basis for measuring the completion of learning. And we need to begin leveraging the available options so L&D look to LinkedIn/Lynda to deliver a code course, look to the college to measure new hires reading and writing levels and EDU’s create and deliver courses that meet the needs of the users on their time and find ways to accept these new content providers. I hope that this integrated model will be the one that truly transforms learning.