Training & Organizational Development : The Times They Are A Changin’

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Training and organizational development is critical in modern business due to the cooperative nature of business models and dynamics, as well as the always-evolving technology and industry standards in any field. So, given how important it is, it’s best to always keep an eye on changes and revolutions in this field, and be ready to adapt with the times, is it not? If the way training works is changing, there must be a reason for it, and to ignore this change means to be susceptible to whatever meta-maladies this change evolved to circumvent. Just as those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, those who don’t learn from the present are doomed to walk into something painfully. So, how have things changed over the years in training, and why? What can we learn from these changes, and how can we use this to forecast the future? Well, let’s take a moment to talk about it, and see when changes happened. Seeing when may give us insight into why. Once upon a time, workplace training was an apprenticeship and/or hands on training by a master at a job. There is a lot to be said for hands-on learning, but learning as you go can set you up for surprises you’re unable to deal with. Reliance on experience can only carry you so far, unfortunately. In time, people realized this, and as written language became a readily practical thing for everyone, and literacy was common, class room environments quickly became a standard. This was more for formal education, with the workplace being just a bit more of a structured hands-on experience, but over time, classrooms began to be adopted for orientation and workplace training as the earliest form of training and organizational development. And here it remained for centuries, barely deviating from the Prussian classroom model of its roots. Fast forward to the end of the 20th century, where computers and technology are exploding into the scene and being adopted by the common people the moment they are offered. Technology is changing rapidly, and along with this rapid increase of change rate, technology is integrating more and more into our lives. Sociologists proposed organizational learning systems that deviated from classrooms to incorporate new learning models in parallel. And, until very recent times, continually-refined versions of this blended model were standard in many places, and were proven to work. They even kept up with the speed of progress for a while, darn it. Curse Moore’s law and the fact that computers and electronics double in power every six months. Because eventually, the speed of progress outran the organizational learning model as a single-project concept by 2008 in most places. And so, in 2013 with the reality of this really hitting home visibly, we see new change happening in the training scene once more. The constant learning model, which is organizational learning in a double-loop flow with no “ultimate” accomplishment is becoming the new way to work. With this dual loop system, a constant state of learning small bits of new information as they come into existence keeps learning a living, breathing process that simply mounts to the ordinary work flow as something not even wholly visible to those not looking for it. And so, training and organizational learning is changing with the times, now that progress cannot be outrun, these new training models cannot be outrun either now.
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog