Feb 15, 2011

HR people need to care about learning not just training

So I met a HR head of a large firm today and told him that while I have been a Training professional most of my life, my real passion is to help people learn.

On hearing that one eyebrow of his shot up and he asked "What's the difference?"

I answered that training is the thing that the organization does to the employee. But learning is what the employee carries with him/her.

Sometimes, if things go well the circles of training and learning overlap to a large extent. However, most often than not, the overlap is not high. And sometimes there is no overlap. (if you're a HR person and are shaking your head, here's a small exercise for you.. go and ask 20 people their biggest learning and where they learnt it. Only 1 or 2 people will say it was in a classroom training)

Learning is impacted by many things outside the HR professional's control. Like whether the correct people are nominated to the training, and whether they can experiment and make mistakes when applying learnings.

The biggest aspect to learning is social interaction between learners. And between experts and learners

Connecting people who are journeying their own discoveries of learning is the best way for a person to learn.

The community so formed is non-judgemental and supportive.

Mostly organizations didn't have the technology to keep a learning community like this alive, but now with social tools they don't have that excuse any longer.

So if you're a HR person, think more than "training" and think about how to facilitate people's learning.
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