Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lrntect Q1 Response

Q1) Shepherd says “As none of these [learning methods, learning media, the science of learning] is intuitive and obvious, the client cannot be expected to have this expertise. And for this reason, it is neither sufficient nor excusable for the learning architect to act as order taker.” What are some ways you avoid being an order taker

Our first defense against order-taking is knowledge and ongoing learning. It has been my experience (personally and from observation) that if you get to a plateau with skills or execution, you can only respond by "filling orders" based on previous, apparently similar requirements. So if you don't bother staying abreast of new developments or alternate approaches, you will be stuck in a world of "thats the way we've always done it.

I also believe that order-filling is a result of a failure to fully understand the nature of the needs of the client and/or the learner. In these situations, our desire to give the client "what they asked for" in the chase for billable services outstrips our responsibility to give them "what they really need".

On a more aggressive stance, at what point do we decline these "McCourses" when the client cannot be swayed from their stance? Do we simply bite our tongues and do it, or realize that the relationship is not going to be a win-win and walk away? I realize this gets into a whole other topic of client influence and business development, but do we keep perpetuating bad practice for the sake of revenue?


David Kelly said...

Great post, and one that was eye-opening for me. I had unknowingly put on blinders that only allowed me to see things from my own internal perspective. As an external provider, the dilemmas are similar, but from a different and unique perspective. Thanks for sharing it.

Mattias said...

Interesting view in the post. I guess I am somewhere between your external provider role and Dave's internal. We have a position as somewhat internal consultants and therefore in many ways face the same challenge as you describe in your post.

Luckily for us my department as a whole are moving away from the order-taking role to a pro-active business driven role. It's quite a challenge but so much fun!


Mark Britz said...

We must remember that a client IS a learner (aren't we all). They have ideas and beliefs based on their own understandings of the world. And like any learner if you ignore or refute this with out respect for their prior understanding -you end up in a power struggle. In the end you lose like you would in a formal learning environment but different than a resistant learner unconvinced, who simply smiles and nods and then does nothing with the new information ...the client will just tell you what to do and that is that. The problem is you, not them. You failed to connect, you failed to bring about a change. Learning is a negotiation in ones own mind. We accept the change only when we feel we own it. A client must own it. We must present logical arguments against the need for McCourses and the like, we must ask "Why." We must get them focused on the problem. We need to ask for information about the workers that will ultimately have to be presented this "change." We must surface a clients prior knowledge and leverage it to present the best solution.

Anonymous said...

I like all of these perspectives. The one about staying abreast of methodologies, strategies, and developments in the field is important. I think a necessary, and often lacking, component, is also the confidence to defend your competence. I sometimes try to go to the doctor's office with a self-diagnosis, and I have never once heard the doctor say "you're right, let me deliver your solution to you." But L&D professionals say essentially that very thing too often, even when we know better. We need to build relationships of trust and assert our competence that we can provide the best solution when we don't settle for the first request.