Tuesday Aug 26, 2008

Are You Accountable for Your Learning?

“I don't care if you create the best training in the world.  If it doesn't change behavior, it doesn't do me any good.”

These words were spoken to me by an executive vice president at an undisclosed company.  I wanted to argue that if the training was the “best in the world,” it would actually be designed to change behavior and would undoubtedly cost more to create and evaluate than he was willing to fund (which, by the way, was $0).

The comment got me thinking, though.  How many of us expect to have a learning path handed to us and be told “This is what you need to do and how you need to do it?"  If you check off the boxes, will you be successful?  I doubt it.

On the other hand, how many of us spend time researching topics that interest us, engaging in communities at work or on the web around those topics, and explore options that will allow us to continually expand our knowledge.  What is it that makes this person completely different from the person who wants the checklist?  And, perhaps more importantly, how can we encourage or enable the checklist person to be more of an explorer?  Further, are there characteristics of each that should be emulated?

I am convinced that learning does not have to take place in a classroom.  There are a variety of sources – free seminars (or webinars), social networking sites, interest groups at work, programs through professional organizations, blogs, etc. - that will allow us to learn and develop as individuals, co-workers and general human beings.  We as individuals, though, need to be responsible and accountable for our learning.  Yes, a classroom may be appropriate for some things.  Heck, even a checklist is appropriate at times.

Challenge yourself to be responsible for your learning and accountable to yourself for expanding your knowledge.  My bet is that you'll be more engaged in what you're doing and more valuable to your employer.  Yes, we may be able to create the best training in the world, but it's up to each individual to consume and internalize what's out there.

About

Sandy's ideas about learning, organizational & personal improvement and other stuff.

I work on Oracle's Leadership Development team, but all thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely my own!

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