The Main Organizational Learning Perspective of 2013

A couple weeks ago, I had coffee with my colleague, and he raised an interesting point I’d overlooked in my training literature in the past. He pointed out that different groups of companies have a varying organizational learning perspective. So do these perspectives, as a summary zeitgeist of the business world, change over time, like any social philosophy or preconception.

Neither I or the blog have really touched much on this in the past, beyond citing the learning philosophies that were long-upheld before organizational learning or any of the newer theories came into practice. Well, that should change, and I have to thank Todd the next time I have coffee with him, for making me aware of this.

Well, I’ll talk about the organizational learning perspective in its many facets as I get the chance, but I can’t do it all in one post, because it would be a tome. So, let me just start with addressing the most immediate thing of relevance, and that’s the global organizational learning perspective of this year, 2013.

This is to say, what is the general opinion on which methods are effective, appropriate and popular, and what are the characteristics of this current mindset? What has led it to be as it is, and what can we expect to happen in the future, permutating off of things as they are now?

Well, the biggest word in the subject is, as I have demonstrated in my recent backlog of talking on the subject, gamification. The problems of making training (or even daily work) less stressful, less tedious and more of an overall pleasant and constructive process.

It throws a lot of old rules about training out the window, just as the main concept of organizational learning did before it. Where organizational learning threw out the “everyone for themselves” formal classroom or seminar environment, now gamification throws out presentation, grading systems and abstract attitude for all new ones.

Gamification has been a theoretical practice for quite a few years now, but it is just now being taken dead seriously by the business and educational industries, as well as many others. Along with the knowledge management model, which is replacing the less refined earlier organizational models, this combination of new engagement and group centrism which this marriage creates is very powerful and very unlike training or work environments of the past.

What led to this is the very cooperative and collective worldview the internet has given people since it has integrated as a new dimension of complete society in the past decade and a half. Along with this, the ever growing and sweeping prevalence of gamer culture in all walks of life (where once it was a strict singular demographic) has made people realize that life is serious, but it should also be a bit of a game. What is life if not a puzzle to solve in a mysterious world we explore and learn in? What else is a game but this?

Along with this, and more so in the near future, is the integration of the digital into training. Learning software such as WalkMe and other boxed tutorial systems work as teaching aids, self-aware and content-aware, these smart systems integrate with just about anything, and are an amazing aid to the trainers, in measuring and managing the learning process of all trainees.

Along with this great set of metrics and micromanagement power, these systems are proving to aid as a great platform to carry the rules of your tailor-made gamification model, and run it in parallel with your expertly-crafted organizational model.

In the future, we can expect this to remain a core organizational learning perspective. Where now it is just a new philosophy, in the future, all styles and perspectives had by different companies at different times will almost certainly be highly sophisticated and even media-rich variations of this burgeoning concept.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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