I have received great feedback from many of you the past few weeks – it was been a wonderful collaboration. I am thrilled to share the final Learning Principle for EPowerment — that state of empowerment engineered by high levels of EQ enabled by real-time access to new people, new communities, and new knowledge sources. The 5th Principle is Multi-Mode Learning.
What I mean by this is that when you show up at work on a Monday morning, the best way for you to learn at that time may be to read an article. On Tuesday morning, it may be to talk to someone. On Wednesday, it may be to watch a video. On Thursday it could be to collaborate in a team environment. The point is that the more modes of learning that we can provide a learner, especially a working professional whose needs change so fast, the higher the probability that the learning will pick one of them that for them, at that specific point in time, is the right one for them. Multi-mode learning is very consistent with the growing popularity of the 70-20-10 Model of Learning (10% classroom, 20% experiential and 70% on-the-job). So, if most of our workplace learning (90%) is supposed to happen while we are working, the multi-mode learning is all the more relevant. Multi-mode learning also addresses the concerns that learners learn differently, based on their personality styles, their moods, their needs, and their motivators.
This principle should not suprise you because it make sense both intuitively and empirically. What I am sure is a concern is “how” in the world can an organization provide so many modes? And therein lies the 3rd “E” of EPowerment — which is through electronic platforms. In a world where Web 1.0, 2.0 and now 3.0 have gained tremendous traction, multi-mode learning has never been easier to orchestrate. The challenge is that most of learning practitioners are not exposed to the power of technology and the exponential growth in accessibility and platforms (modality). For example, TED has created popular 10-20 minute videos that are simply awe inspiring and give unprecedented access to everyone to some of the most amazing people that we otherwise would have either never met or known. Same with You Tube. Research and knowledge repositories that house case studies, articles, best practices are also available now with the click of a mouse that houses knowledge and wisdom that traditionally existed only within consulting firms. Wikipedia is a great example of finding quick facts and knowledge that again adds to the modality of learning. And in the case of wikipedia, the latest numbers show that it is actually more accurate that Britannica. Who needs to go to the library anymore? And with powerful search engines built into all these platforms, finding what you want has also never been easier.
What should not be forgotten in the multi-mode principle is that human connections to each other can also lead to unprecedented levels of insight and knowledge generation. We can connect to new people who are experts at what they do and they are also easier to find than ever before. We can also connect to new communities of experts or collaborators that are well outside of the traditional boundaries of your own company, geography, and area of expertise. The idea of cross-industry collaboration is gaining tremendous popularity as some industries are better at certain dimensions of work than others. The idea of Six Sigma, for example, started in Manufacturing as a quality initiative and today, industries like Healthcare have adopted is for care of services — but it took over 20 years (since the mid 80s) before it found its way to healthcare in the last decade or so. These best practices, or morphed versions of them, can now be transient in real time. The onus is clearly on CLOs (Chief Learning Officers) and leaders of every organizaiton to actively seek multiple modes of learning for their employees so that they can make the best possible decisions at the time that they need to be made. Isn’t this what empowerment was supposed to be?
A study released in January by the Corporate Executive Board revealed that the modality of learning was independent to the effectiveness of the learning. So an organization that prides itself in one or two ways of training and developing its people, especially in the traditional 10% (70-20-10) is simply going to lose to others who take advantage of the growth in modality of learning.