Sunday, December 26, 2010

Why adult learning matters for management training...

Adult learning operates on a set of principles that the instructional designer and learning facilitator can make rich use of in structuring group learning environments. This YouTube video gives some insight into those principles. The first assumption is that adults need to understand the answer to the question "Why?" In order to learn, adults crave an explanation of how the learning will be useful and to what ends the learning will serve. To be meaningful, a group resolution of this question can help articulate an emergent sense of why the learning is being incorporated into their otherwise busy and productive lives.

In relation to management training and leadership development, a discovery process can point to all of the following reasons, among others, to engage in the learning process:

1. The globalization of the talent pool. Existing managers are no longer competing internally within their own organizations but with the advent of multinational corporations and the spread of Web 2.0 technology, the talent pool can be sourced from around the globe.

2. Many organizations have undertaken restructuring efforts designed to improve organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Many managers are impacted by such decisions and managers who are capable of adaptive and reflective learning can apply their knowledge and skills in new work environments and more readily engage in change processes.

3. There have been ongoing conversations about management become a profession in its own right with the requisite minimum standards, certifications, etc. The vast array of MBA programs certainly points to a vast body of knowledge that can be explored and applied in the workplace.

4. The expanding domain of management warrants additional learning. The complexity of the role of the manager has increased in many cases and encompasses more and more. Even if we consider only the complexity of managing one's talent, we have a vast body of knowledge to add value to the daily interactions with our peers.

5. The drive for innovation and creativity in modern organizations where the need for some competitive advantage is necessary for growth and/or survival of the firm. Learning organizations certainly appear to be better suited for these opportunities.

6. The manager's role in increasing customer loyalty and employee engagement by achieving the organization's results through the best use of human capital.

These points alone provide for a great introduction to help managers self-assess the need for ongoing learning in the workplace.

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