finding what was missing

I am rolling into the third month at my new job. In most ways this job is a return to my roots, building a learning design team, developing curriculum maps, design documents, blueprints and storyboards. We discuss what needs to be learned and how best to present it. I talk about the use of data to improve learning they way I used to. Not the use of surveillance data, but performance data – what do we think people actually need to do to both stay safe and keep the system running. I talk about learning theory, especially my favorite learning theory – Ten Steps to Complex Learning.

Of course, I couldn’t escape Moodle or an LMS migration (I guess where there is learning there is LMS end user support?). Or Sharepoint – Yes, I will develop another document repository and process flows for a fledgling learning design and media team to share.

Each day though, I feel like I make baby steps in changing the way people think about learning. I look for ways to break learning out of the classroom, and to bring more structure to “on the job” learning. I dream of (and scheme to achieve) when it will be a mixed up continuum of learning in different places and spaces, facilitated by a variety of folks, such that no one really knows where the “training program” started or ended. I see a place where we “just” continually support our folks to do better, think differently and challenge themselves. And then if I close my eyes a little tighter, I can see the point where the roles between students, instructors, supervisors, and mentors get so blurred that we all just become learners supporting one another to do better, think differently, and challenge ourselves.

Of course when I open my eyes, I see the real challenges we face. I am situated in a training department in people regularly remind me “we don’t develop policies, we train to them,” a place where last week’s emergency was who needed forklift training, and where I spent a week scheduling 2018 safety courses. I see a place that is facing real challenges and that acknowledges that its current business practices are not sustainable. I see the folks who have been here for thirty years and fear change.

Yet, I also see all of the good that they have achieved using their battle-tested methods. I hear the pride in their voices and their commitment to ensure critical public infrastructure is in place and the best it can possibly be. And then somehow, the change I dream of (at least the first part of it) feels just the tiniest bit possible.

That tiny-bit-of-possibility is a good feeling, and one that I have been missing for a while. There is some risk that it’s a fleeting, so I’ll enjoy it for now and make sure to smile quietly as I focus on doing good work.


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