Education Opinion

Lessons from Workforce Learning Leaders

By Learning Forward — May 16, 2013 2 min read
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Last week I attended the Chief Learning Officers Breakfast Club conference sponsored by Chief Learning Officer magazine. This publication, and the learning sessions it sponsors, is designed for the workforce learning and development industry, primarily in the business world. It provides guidance and insight to global enterprise education executives who oversee, authorize, fund, and support learning and development programs.

As the only person in the room with a K-12 background, I was fascinated by how relevant the work of business learning leaders is to the work of learning leaders in the field of education. The morning-long interactive panel discussion included Raj Ramachandran, University of Phoenix; Eric Brunner, GP Strategies; and Bob Blondin, Xerox Learning Services. Lew Walker, head of AT&T Learning Services, moderated the session that revolved around three key questions: What is the changing nature of work? What is the changing nature of learning? What are the skills and competencies required for learning leaders today?

All three questions yielded rich discussions among panelists and attendees. Over the course of several blogs, I’ll examine each question and how each relates to professional learning for educators.

What is the changing nature of work? The panel and audience interchange concluded that, today, helping workers master the ability to retrieve information is as important as teaching workers to retain information. Since only 10% of a worker’s learning is through formal channels and 90% through informal, on-the-job-learning situations, it’s critical for workers to know how and where to find the best information to support just-in-time learning. Consequently, mobile learning resources, gaming, video, and simulations will increasingly be the tools workers call upon to either provide or support their learning.

Because the nature of work is changing, learners want and need 24/7, on-demand access to learning resources. The wide array and immediate access to learning tools, however, presents a potential for data overload. This is where the learning leader can be most useful as a guide and coach to help the learner/worker navigate the learning terrain to choose the best and most useful learning supports.

The same concept applies when we consider how to support teachers in their learning pursuits. The education learning leader has the obligation to stay abreast of the tools, products, materials, and technologies that best support learning, both adult and student. Once armed with this knowledge, the learning leader in education can be the compass educators can rely on to point to learning’s true north.

Next week, what is the nature of learning?

Carol V. Francois
Director of Learning, Learning Forward

The opinions expressed in Learning Forward’s PD Watch are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.