Lean Learning

It first happened in 2010 and then everyday thereafter. Emerging from my Master’s Degree in Adult Learning & Global Change and leaning into social media, I couldn’t connect the dots between 40 pages of a training workbook and 140 characters on Twitter. What troubled me was that I couldn’t un-see it. I still can’t. What troubles me even more is that as workplaces and organizations, for the large part, leaders can’t see it to begin with.

If how we consume information is increasingly lean, why aren’t we Lean Learning?

We spend most of our lives talking about lean bodies and budgets. We’re obsessed with it. We Photoshop and save pennies for it. Yet when it comes to learning, we pack on the details and filler. And then we retweet, repost or simply repeat facts at dinner parties like “Goldfish have greater attention spans than we do today.” GOLDFISH. Think about it – but you won’t be able to for too long because. Yeah. So why are we still elevating excess information when simple is not just sufficient, it’s just right?

It’s Complicated

Exactly, it’s way too complicated. Anything complicated in the workplace is the silent killer of innovation, ideation, and productivity. Yet we celebrate unnecessary details. We applaud terms that exemplify complicated like “matrixed organizations”. Then we use them in job descriptions and hope we get talent that can disrupt the matrix with their novel ideas and velocity. Lean Learning is part of the entrepreneurial DNA. Complicated learning says you don’t want to evolve, that you’ll die fighting for the status quo. This may have been cool in the 80’s or 90’s, and although stonewashed denim, scrunchies and audacious prints are reemerging as fashion trends, complicated will never again be in style.

This is Your Moment

Lean Learning is here to stay. It’s about moments of truth, of thriving, of clarity. Moments that propel entire days of finding meaning at work, of creating value beyond the boundaries of our own imagination limited by company imposed models & frameworks. Today, in the social era of limited time and excess consumption, employees need bite-sized pieces of social and digital knowledge that allow them to learn in a way that fits into their skinny calendar slots. This is how I define Lean Learning. It is being on the go and in the know and at its core are four key elements:


Learner as Hero – Save the day and increase self-efficacy on your own terms.

Micro Consumption – Learning that is lean and meaningful: short podcasts, 140 characters, 30-second videos, one-pagers, two-liners.

Social as Catalyst – Ideation through curation within and across social, mobile and collaboration technology.

Conscious Disruption – Showing up authentically, being fiercely curious, and raising the game by choice vs. prescriptive design.


Learning must be be lean and meaningful so that we can quickly consume, digest and apply it in real time, in real life to make a real impact on people as well as profit. In the world of work largely guided by an end goal of creating shareholder value, we often forget the need to create human value. Until robots run the world, this matters.

Stay Curious… 

 

Why Learning Should Be Open Source

If knowledge is not open source, we are running a dangerous experiment with the collective intellect of humanity.

 

At times the sound of the rain seemed to be louder than the crescendo of voices inside the coffee shop during the lunch rush; an enlightened irony of my conversation with a colleague about noise. Not the noise we hear with our ears, the one we encounter daily with our eyes and minds when we devour (or attempt to), massive loads of information. Words, ideas, images and infographics are pouring down upon us and we aren’t even protecting ourselves from ignorance with an umbrella of purpose.

 

 

Open-Source Learning

With social media and collaboration technology, ideas can now be analyzed, debated, deconstructed and reconstructed in ways entirely inconceivable in the prior era of elite-only learning. Social technology enables intellectual crowd-sourcing at its best. The validity of an idea in a single classroom is being tested in workplaces and communities in parts of the world where access to the Internet is the only source of formal education. Where disruption is the difference between surviving and thriving. Where being born in a slum means living in an ecosystem of micro-entrepreneurs. If it truly is about who you know, then it’s time to talk about how to get to know those people where they live, work and play. Open-source learning is the meeting of the collective mind.

 

Open-Source Ideas

What good is knowledge if it is only shared in the name of monetization? Are we that greedy to hoard possibilities to ourselves because we cannot in our own simple minds conceive of ways to create additional value? Unfortunately, yes. What’s frightening is that some of the most poorly designed content, curriculum, blog posts command top dollar. Sure, anyone can put pen to paper or connect their words to a keyboard. Writing is easy. Writing for influence is not. This requires you to facilitate expertise through social engagement rather than being the expert as author. The skilful content creator is expert as curator, engager and author. The master communicator is the invisible orchestrator of human engagement with knowledge. This is the single element that separates a ruckus from a symphony.

 

Noise Cancellation

Did you ever think that the spa days, mental health days, vacation in the mountains, digital detox/diets/sabbaticals could be avoided by simply choosing to produce and consume knowledge as it is meant to — in small bite-sized chunks with all the flavour minus the artificial fillers that are hazardous to our mind? I call this Lean Learning.

Is Your Organization Collaboratively Intelligent?

They say too much of something is not always a good thing – when you’re not being smart about it. Collaboration is no exception.

Is your organization collaboratively intelligent?

A Collaboratively Intelligent Organization has a culture of sharing, powered by thoughtful people, who access key knowledge, at the speed of need, amplified by community caring, so that in the flow of everyday work, ideas collide for good to create new forms of human and business value.

Get Your Head in the Cloud with Disruptive E-Learning Technology

I’m excited to be collaborating with e-learning company Docebo, on a series of sponsored posts and guest posts on topics ranging from Business Process Humanization to Learning Design for Employer Branding, and this first post on a review of their latest product: Docebo 6.2 LMS.

The decision to collaborate on sponsored posts was motivated by a desire to get a more intimate look into the e-learning technology market. My curiosity was piqued as part of a broader intention to provide you, my community of HR practitioners, learning professionals and smart businesses, with more insight into the market. The opinions expressed in this post and all posts in the series are my solely my own. There are no affiliate links contained in this post.

Let’s Do This.

Docebo_Logo1

Docebo, pronounced “Do-Chee-Bo” is a Naples, Italy and Athens, Georgia based company that provides SaaS (“Software-As-A-Service”) based e-learning solutions. Established in 2005, it has partners in 29 countries and over 300,000 users. Docebo ranks among the top 20 Learning Management Systems (LMS) by Capterra and Craig Weiss’ 2014 LMS Market Report. Last month it released version 6.2 of its solution, which continues to disrupt the market.

But First Things First, The Why of E-Learning

As a former HR Manager leading 400 employees I was occupied with four key questions when it came to learning:

1. Is it cost and time effective?
Lean budgets and productivity targets require maximized knowledge with minimized disruption of workflow.

2. Does it serve compliance and creative needs of employees and the business?
Regulatory learning means we are engaging in the best interest of all stakeholders while protecting the company. Professional development opportunities show employees the company is investing in their potential.

3. Will knowledge live and breathe beyond the classroom?
Formal learning ticks boxes, informal and social learning where knowledge transforms into meaning through relationships & interactions is where the real magic happens.

4. Is it simple?
As the now famous meme says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that” level of unnecessary complexity. It’s all about “LeanLearning”In the know and on the go!

 

Effective e-learning answers “yes” to all of the above.

Here’s why:

EMPLOYEES CAN GET SMARTER ON THEIR OWN TERMS – self-paced learning modules allow different people with different learning styles to engage in alignment with their best selves, when and where their energy and lifestyle fuels it.

LEADERS CAN GET SMARTER ABOUT THEIR PEOPLE – personal and team progress tracking means it’s easier to see who needs a high-five versus human intervention.

THE COMPANY CAN GET SMARTER ABOUT LEARNING DESIGN – with 24/7 access to learning, delivery is consistent and feedback on the learning experience provides insight on the usefulness and effectiveness of the content for various teams, departments or project groups.

Compelling and comfortable learning experiences can lead to higher employee satisfaction, lower turnover, meaningful employee engagement and savvy employer brand ambassadors; all with the beautiful benefit of less costs and greater profit.

“Today’s workforce needs knowledge, skills and abilities that are aligned with business objectives, while managers need to track the effectiveness of learning programmes… we aim to transform the LMS into a ‘must have’ tool – like a CRM.”

— Claudio Erba, CEO & Founder of Docebo

These Folks Also Play in this Space

LMS Logos

With Docebo’s simple and comprehensive solution, it successfully competes and thrives in the same sandbox as these players.

The Big Idea Behind Docebo 6.2

Spend less time on the technical and administrative aspects of instructional design and more time curating content that will transform the way you connect and create.

“Our approach helps re-humanize business processes through e-learning as companies become more people-centric. That’s why we’ve allowed access to a package of Apps for mid-sized and large enterprises, such as the Enterprise Cloud Solution. In addition, our Classroom ILT App enables superior service delivery and cost-effective investment while leveraging the benefits and flexibility of a pure SaaS Solution.”

— Claudio Erba, Docebo’s CEO and Founder

E-Learning, LMS

I gave Docebo’s platform a spin. It was ridiculously easy to set-up and get on with it.

Docebo Screenshots

Overall, I was impressed by the ease, simplicity, functionality and user experience based on my mini adventure.

Docebo has some opportunities in refining graphics associated with their course offering gallery, both in terms of variety of images as well as diversity in gender and ethnicity reflected in the graphics. I’m also looking forward to greater social collaboration, content marketing opportunities from within the LMS (very cool!) as well gamification in Docebo 6.3. With Docebo’s TinCan API compliance, experiential learning through virtual reality, serious games and simulation may also be on the horizon.

Now you try it. Give Docebo a whirl with their 14-day free trial and let me know what you think about it for your learning and business needs.

Happy Learning folks. Keep it Lean and Meaningful.

 

Death by Conference: When Smart People Use Comic Sans

Dear Speaker,

Here’s the deal. If you get a stage to share your knowledge, it is your duty to humankind to influence the way people think, live, believe and behave — not just talk about yourself/product/service. Knowledge is only power when it enables others to invite simplicity, ease and greatness into their life. Knowledge is not a stockpile of information you think is so important that every gold nugget you’ve acquired over the years needs to be squeezed into an hour on a podium with a lapel mic. Information dissemination when not consciously designed is just complexity. Complexity is ego. Complexity is a form of intellectual trickery and deceit. Complexity is the enemy of learning.

Every encounter be it in a physical or virtual classroom, social media or a passing conversation, is a platform whose best use is to make someone’s life and therefore universal existence, better. It’s what we all want at the end of the day — better sleep,wealth, health, influence, life insurance, gas prices, thighs. We don’t want to climb the hero soapbox and and take the caped crusader’s stance, no. No we do not. We want to knock that box right out from under you so we can sit around the proverbial fire and share stories of coffee stained dress shirts and torn pantyhose, then take time to figure out what it all means. We don’t want to be like Mike, we want to be Mike or Michaela 4.0.

Dear Attendee,

What if you forked out thousands of dollars to attend an industry event —flight, hotel, Town Car, expensive sushi, fancy socks, designer suit. Dollars you deducted from your fake-it-till-you-make-it fund thrown at the chance to gain know-how, network and finally say NO the next time your boss says, “Yes, but…”

What if this, a key part of your own hustle for happiness—is to be attained by sitting in the front row in a middle seat, listening to a person who enjoyed the sound of their own voice and took pride in the chaos of mismatched colours and the unskilfully animated collision of Comic Sans, Calibri and Times New Roman Bold fonts in the name of learning?

What makes you different, lining up with your branded boxed lunch and vendor swag, than the assembly line workers with their faded jumpsuits, hair nets and lunch pails?

Dear Speaker,

Don’t be a foreman when you can be a foreseer. Value is derived from setting a big vision, not from deathy by clicking. If you’re creating your own presentation materials are you really utilizing your time most effectively, gaining momentum on the maximum value generation track?

What makes you different, queueing with your designer labels, Blackberries, VIP badges and small PC laptops than the assembly liners with their faded jumpsuits, hair nets, candy striper gettups and lunch pails?

Dear Participant,

Yes, you are participants, not attendees. You are an active part of the problem and solution. Learning or lack thereof does not happen to you unless you let it. Want to truly be a hero, rise above the rest, save your family and the world? Complete the evaluation form like a boss, like it’s the template for designing the leader of your dreams, the job of your dreams—like your life depends on it…because it does.

DEAR ALL CONFERENCE GOERS: Speakers & Participants,

What really makes you different…from each other? Nothing, until you CONSCIOUSLY CLICK.

Sincerely,

Fellow Conference Participant and Learner

salimaname