Head of Learning Innovation, Huthwaite International | Senior Consultant, Learnworks Ltd
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Is it either, or or both?

15th Jun 2012
Head of Learning Innovation, Huthwaite International | Senior Consultant, Learnworks Ltd
Columnist
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An interesting and arresting tweet popped up the other day:

“Sounds like there are few "there there" conferences on at the moment "there there, it's alright, just carry on doing the same old thing"
It was posted by long term blogger and tweet mistress Jane Hart – a zealous advocate of social media and informal learning.
Apart from an object lesson in how to be condescending in under 140 characters, it caught my attention because once again it seemed to suggest we need to stop whatever we’re doing and embrace the new orthodoxy of informal learning. 
And yet…
Cegos published its pan-European survey results this week which found that “UK firms are taking the lead in training methods”. Cegos MD Francis Marshall went on to add “Despite much of the hype surrounding social media tools and technology-driven learning, the human touch and face-to-face interaction remain essential to learning and development today.” http://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/pm/articles/2012/06/uk-companies-best-in-europe-at-training.htm
Now despite some commentary on the pages of TrainingZone and elsewhere I am not opposed to the use of collaboration, facilitated online, as part of the training mix. Nor am I implacably opposed to the 70:20:10 model of training which places informal development in a context of formal training and focused coaching based on quality conversations between learners and the learned.
I also accept Drucker’s comment that “In order to start doing something new, you’ve got to stop doing something old”.
It’s just that I don’t buy the apparent demand that we throw out everything we’ve ever done, abandoning our tried and tested and, according to the findings of the Cegos survey, successful models in favour of the as yet unproven reliance on web 2.0 tools. If my long experience of L&D has taught me anything it is that there are no silver bullets and no one size answer to improving performance in the workplace.
If we take the 70:20:10 model literally and accept that 10% of learning should be formal that would represent a doubling of the amount of formal development provided to most members of staff. That seems about right to me.
So, there, there, carry on doing the same old things while looking for how you can use new tools and media. With continued incremental innovation, based on solid evidence of achievement, we’ll stay ahead of the rest of Europe.
Robin's book - Complete Training: from recruitment to retirement will be published by Kogan Page in 2013.
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