Why do so many of us recoil at the prospect of another workplace training session? What is going wrong, and how can we fix it?
The answer is simple. The process of learning is complex and dynamic. But most training is linear and compliance based. It’s developed to serve a particular corporate purpose at a particular time. But is that purpose valid, and are traditional training approaches serving our organisations or the wider economy?
It’s more than a decade since Sir Ken Robinson, a leading thinker on creative and cultural education, asked why our educational systems were still trying to meet the needs of an unknown future by simply doing what they did in the past.
The same question might equally be asked of today’s corporate training programmes. In the pursuit of an outdated idea of what organisations require, we have somehow forgotten how and why people learn.
And if we stay on this path, where are we going? Towards the corporate equivalent of society as depicted in US science-fiction comedy ‘Idiocracy’, where people devoid of curiosity and creativity contribute to a future in decline?
Sir Ken believed that, as a society, we educate people out of their creativity. By creativity, he meant having original ideas that have value. He also argued that diverse thinking is an essential capacity for creativity in that it’s the ability to see lots of possible answers to, and ways of interpreting, a question.
So we need to start considering how we equip people to tap back into their innate capacity for creativity and diverse thinking, especially in high-growth, high-hazard, technical sectors like wind power. And that means thinking about where and how we learn?
Is this in a traditional classroom setting, being fed facts designed to meet a set of predefined compliance criteria? Or is on-the-job, as and when we require specific information, in collaborative surroundings, where we can take in different views, consider options, make decisions and adapt to fast-paced environments?
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