Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Neglected aspects in design for development of people

There is a deluge of ‘canned’ programs in learning and development today. Online tools and techniques will hang out for the ‘convenience’ of the keyboard buffs and corporate clients. Civilisation today is less of heart and more of intellect, they say. In my experience, there are a few aspects I would look at to enable ‘contact’ with reality, or at least those aspects of reality that our senses get numbed to over time. Usually these touch ‘mind-set’ issues. A requisite range of experiences normally helps.
1.       Structure ‘uncertainty’ confrontation through the requirement of ‘choice-making’. i.e. The learner chooses what he or she would do away from the online screen. At least one personal change that the learner would like to make. At more complex designs that require concentration bereft of cognitive biases, one change the learner would like to make in the norms of the group he or she belongs to is a challenge. The consequence of choice is owned by the learner. That is a choice in design of learning too.  

2.       Get to root or core issues.  Although it presents itself as a behavioural issue, seeped in emotionality, it actually may surface from ‘thinking’ skills or the cognitive domain. Do learners ‘frame’ their issues right? Do they argue without fallacies in reasoning? Do they curiously frame questions that get them the information they need? Are they smug in the certainty of the organisational hierarchy? Likewise, do cognitive pursuits get curtailed for lack of emotive expression?
3.       Get to ‘expression’ of self in our times. The outcome is a grounding in an alternate awareness that gives introspective nudge “In what frame of reference am I speaking for myself?” If the learner is a specialist in accounting, can he or she speak on custodianship of ethics from the standpoint of a salesperson? If the speaker is a CEO, can he or she speak as a ‘mentor’ of new talent? If the learner is a high-potential leader, can he or she speak of what it means to belong or identify with a national culture other than his or her own?
4.       Get people to ‘thought’ leadership with sufficient preparation. Avoid the ‘ppt’ or ‘deck’ as aid to present remote ‘information’. Instead, the audience gets a position paper of specified lengths based on primary and secondary research which are cited for others to learn from. Get the learner to immerse in the domain of thought he or she will present. Intimate engagement gets the learner to develop ‘justified beliefs’ – the cornerstone of knowledge.

5.       Involve stakeholders of sustainability, not merely ‘shareholders’ of profit. Agility, self-awareness, interpersonal competence and organisational citizenship based on discretionary behaviors, is born of choice. Only if, learning is done from meeting or exceeding legitimate expectations of the local government and community where the firm is engaged, as also those of customers’ customers and supplier’s employees.  Most significantly, your fellow learner is also a stakeholder, evolving continually into the future.

Action learning is one rich methodology that will aid in this respect. Obviously, this experience goes not only away from the classroom, but a considerable time is devoted away from the online devices that take away from sensing the reality in which competence is required to be built. Am referring here a compelling video from MIT, where Ed Schein also mentions the potency of feedback – it is culturally offensive!
What do you feel? What do you think?

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