Blog

Which Learning Environment delivers?

The learning organization as a means

Companies increasingly strive for a learning organization that is also focused on achieving business results.
In these times of rapidly changing social and technological developments, the competition is strong and every company wants to keep its professionals on board. To engage people to be committed to optimal results as well as to passionate about their role is of course always a challenge. On the one hand performance and delivery under high work pressure and on the other hand optimal talent development. How could a learning organization simultaneously contribute to desired results and encouraging people to experience more impact, strength, space, ownership and self-management?

 

Performance and good professional development:  a stubborn couple

Every organization adapts its leadership and organizational structure to its own context. Mission, vision and strategic plans formulate intended KPI's.  By using the learning organization as a strategic pivot, the expectation is that "performance" and "good learning and professional development" will go hand in hand. However, they turn out to be a stubborn couple.
In a culture where effectiveness is priority, organizations organize, structure, stabilize, automate, scale up and converge. People are relatively dependent on each other and experience safety and security as important values. Knowledge development therefore doesn't evolve naturally and is not always necessary or transparent in this systematical environment. Learning and developing is often the opposite! Within an environment of flexibility, independence, divergence, research, allowing mistakes, getting outside of comfort zones and openness, learning will flourish!
How can you let those two go through one door? What kind of change management could work?

 

Bring the couple into phase

I try to gain more insight into this question. If you, as a team, take leadership to manage this change, be aware that developments in society and the competitive market have the most influence on how effective working and good learning relate to each other. If there is less demand, then culture styles  like 'results' and 'cost reduction' dominate and professional development gets under pressure and vice versa. Actually, these two 'waves' should get into "phase". Transforming them into phase means that one intervention does not influence the other too much. You then ensure that the distance between these cultural contradictions goes with the flows of the external developments and the transformation  becomes more stable. One of the levers to achieve this is to strengthen team learning. Because in a learning organization, it is all about about learning between people.

 

The norm for changing teams

Organizations increasingly want to allow teams freedom to tackle challenges in an integrated, multidisciplinary way. Professionals are expected to look beyond their own discipline and participate in all kinds of different - rapidly changing - working communities. Everyone brings his or her qualities as a proactive knowledge worker.
However, team learning only yields when common standards are set for these tasks. With each task, teams will have to decide together which criteria are important. Without standard no reflection and therefore no improvement and no learning! Setting a common standard is a challenge in itself! Especially if you are increasingly a member of a multitude of teams! Team members nowadays simply don't have the time to establish each other's responsibilities and roles for each team. People are focused on the succes of the task. The result. So there will be less room for teambuilding and team development, because of the dynamics in team formations.

 

Short cycle formal learning

So if teams will be working more in varying teams, the learning experience per project will be shorter. Leading a teams shifts to a subject-matter orientated, multidisciplinary dialogue that requires self-knowledge, discipline and commitment from all team members. Short cyclic learning is sometimes associated with informal learning and micro-learning. From this perspective however, this shorter learning gets a more formal character. It works towards a concrete result based on established standards, outcomes and collective reflection.

 

Which online learning environment delivers?

If you are looking for a supporting system aimed at team-based learning, you need a learning environment that is well equipped for social learning. An attractive environment that supports peer-to-peer feedback and coaching on your goals, completed products or tasks. Personalized. Tailor-made for you or your team. An environment in which learning experiences can be jointly experienced and supported. A place where you also have an easily accessible library with meaningful and relevant stories at your disposal. With successes and reflections on improvements. This 'common knowledge' is actively maintained and can be used again and again for new teams. The environment also helps you to develop yourself in your talents. You can develop yourself into a coach, by becoming an expert in a specific area. Maybe you are soon be able to provide a training for your colleagues yourself.
An online environment that facilitates this optimizes the development of yourself, team, and company.

Are you curious to set the next steps?

 

Inspiration
Boris Groysberg, Jeremiah Lee, Jesse Price, and J. Yo-Jud Cheng (2018), The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture
Hulsebosch, Joitske (26 april 2018): Knowmadisch leren in een zelfsturende organisatie
prof. dr. M.C.P. Ruijters (17 november 2017): Leren in verandering, over lerende organisaties, professionele teams en goed werk
Dixon, N.M. (2000). Common knowledge: How companies thrive by sharing what they know.