Creating a Learning Culture that works

We all talk about Learning Cultures, we all talk about embedding the process of learning within our organisations or those that we work with, we  all talk about valuing informal learning, creating opportunities for staff to learn and grow.  Some of us are lucky and work with organisations for which Learning is a Value, linked to the mission statement and strategic plans, so of us work with organisations were learning is less valued, either overall, or in significant parts of the business. We all know the theory and how it is all supposed to work,  but I wonder when the rubber hits the road what actually works.

The reason I ask this is I was having a conversation where we discussing the involvement of supervisors, team leaders etc in the learning process.  Specifically in this case reporting on whether or not staff that had attended training had changed behaviours, learnt something, had become competent or satisfactory at particular tasks, essentially whether or not the classroom learning had been transferred back to the workplace.  We were also talking specifically about 3rd party reporting under the Australian VET system, where supervisors are called upon to indicate whether they have observed a staff member successfully and satisfactorily undertake specific tasks related to their assessment as competent in particular units of competency.

I wrote a little while ago about some ideas on engaging managers and supervisors in the learning process but again I am talking about some thing more concrete, I am talking about how we get managers to take responsiblity for deciding if their staff have actually transferred their learnings from the classroom to the office or factory floor, which is a far more active involvement than I was talking about previously.  I guess I am looking at ways to stop the process being a tick and flick, they’ve attended so they must have learnt it, I don’t want to spend anymore time or money on them getting it so I will just say they have learnt something kind of process.

The problem is that the best tactic, the one that gets the best results is to use the stick of, well if you sign them off and something goes wrong then it your issue and your responsibility.  There is something deeply unsatisfying about that though, in fact there is something deeply unsatisfying about having to have a strategy in the first place to deal with this.

So there it is;  how do you create this concrete level of engagement, this concrete learning culture, effectively and efficiently, without having to resort to what seems to me like the stick end of the carrot and stick equation.

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About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

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