A week or so ago I posted a video on the future of education because I found it most thought provoking. Read it here
But since then I have been wondering about what is happening to adult education, what we generally know as professional training and development. Over the past 10 to 15 years we have seen huge growth in companies specializing in all kinds of professional development: leadership communication, assertiveness etc. The list is endless. But I’ve noticed that over the past 2 years a lot of those companies are now mere shadows of themselves. They are just not doing the business that they used to. When I ask my friends and clients in the conference hotel business, they agree – that part of their market has decreased significantly.
So what has happened, have professionals stopped learning?
That is unlikely. The rate of change surrounding us is accelerating at an unprecedented rate and the need for further education and development has never been higher than it is now.
Something is changing
I think that 3 factors are influencing what is happening and that eventually will lead to a significant change in the way we think of professional development in the future:
70-20-10 – Learning frameworks is becoming a standard. That means that the focus is on, on-the-job-learning (70%) supported by peer coaching (20%) with just a dash of actual instruction added (10%).
Time – what I hear from HR managers again and again is that no matter how interesting, exotic and high flying propositions they come up with – they still have a very hard time getting people to actually sign up for the training offered. This has to do with the fact that everybody feels the pressure of more and more things that need to be done and not enough time to do them. So trainings that were previously considered a perk are now often considered an added burden.
Money – the ROI of the stand alone 2 day training course is questioned. It is expensive to run and if on top of that you need to drag people in to actually attend – it is not the best starting point for any learning to take place.
So, invariably bosses are asking themselves could we do this differently?
My guess is that the onus is going to shift and the companies are going to come to the conclusion that they cannot take responsibility for the personal development of individuals. The competition for great jobs is only going to increase and therefore it’s going to be natural to say to those who would like the good jobs that they need to take responsibility for their own development.
Great companies will encourage and provide the space and opportunity for on-the-job learning, the best ones will also add (peer)-coaching and reflection as part of that package but the last 10% new knowledge is going to be left to the individual in some kind of DIY format.
My guess is that this will be e-learning driven to a large extent.
Not because e-learning provides the best training environment but because it solves the problem of time and money.
And in the same way that when we had to give up our music on vinyl and shift to CD’S and again to shift from CD*s to Mps3 we all cried: “Never will I live with that loss of quality” at the end of the day money and time made us accept a more convenient solution, although it was not as good as what we had.
What is your perspective on all this, I would really like to know?