Sep 4, 2013

Dependent on where you live, your drive into work yesterday may have been a bit longer than usual. The vast majority of schools in our area welcomed students back yesterday, heralding the return of buses to our roads.

For me, the slower commute was the least of my worries as my oldest daughter was going to school for the first time. Rather than cursing the buses, my husband and I were those crazy parents following behind it.

It was a rocky start (including one of those peel-the-crying-child-off-you moments), but she had a great day overall and was excited to return today.

That got me thinking on my way into work, waiting patiently behind those buses, at what point did we lose our desire for learning, particularly in the workplace?

We dread the two-day training course which means projects put on hold and work piling up while we are gone. We are exasperated by the online training that has us zoning out and click-click-clicking on a mouse.

How can we make learning in the workplace exciting again? Because, let’s face it, continual learning will always be the pathway to individual and organizational success. Without it, organizations (and people) lack creativity and innovation and are left to stagnate and be left behind.

The key to improving workplace learning is quite simple. We need to make it more informal and social.

Learning in Every Nook and Cranny

Encourage learning and growth everywhere – through social network sites, in the lunch room, through blogs and colleagues. The chance to learn is all around us, from tools and in situations we wouldn’t normally look to.

Learning Get-Togethers

Bring people together in casual, social groups to learn together. Let people lead each other and work together to learn new skills and knowledge. People learn best with and from others, when they can take an active role in the creation of content, connect, communicate and collaborate with others. This allows them to share resources, ideas and experiences.

It also encourages them to grow as a team: recognizing each person’s unique strengths and skills, and learning to understand and accept different personalities and points of view. This helps them to problem-solve and work together better outside of learning.

There are many great opportunities to bring informal learning to your workplace as well as promoting social learning.

Krypton looks like a promising start for this way of learning. I encourage you to sign up for updates.

A simple book club focusing on interesting business books would work well too.

Learning doesn’t need to equate to drudgery. It should be something we continually embrace to help our organizations grow and succeed.

In 2013/14 let’s welcome learning back into our organizations.

P.S. For an excellent read on changing the way your organization approaches training, check out: “The Workplace Learning Revolution.”

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