"Sage-on-the-Stage” Gives Way to “Guide-on-the-Side”

Introduction: In this blog I focus on today’s workers and what they expect from a work experience and specifically from learning--it’s very different from the past. The traditional classroom approach (with the sage-on-the-stage)is taking a back seat to the growth of collaborative learning (with the guide-on-the-side) within the work environment. 360Learning embodies this approach in a platform that emphasizes colleague collaboration and emerging new leaders who create content. Read the eBook I wrote, Reconnecting Learning and Business: How 9 Major US Organizations Are Bridging the Gap to understand more about what’s happening in today’s organizations.

A culture shift is disrupting traditional corporate employee learning. While the hour-long, online courses and multiple day face-to-face instruction have their place, they are no longer the focus of learning in corporate America. One driving force behind this change is the Millennials and those that follow, the GenZ. These workers make up over 50% of the US workforce.[i] They are a societal force. Their style of working has specific characteristics. They:

·    Engage in social media and share information

·    Expect and ask about growth opportunities

·    Want autonomy and decision-making responsibilities

·    Expect to work with the latest tools and technology

·    Want a work environment that values new ideas/approaches and encourages sharing

Today’s workers want learning easily accessible and available when they need it. That’s learning integrated with work.

A new mindset for growth. We are at a pivot time for organizations as well. They are changing, becoming more agile and more innovative in the quest to separate themselves from the competition. Executives are recognizing employees as a competitive advantage and requiring appropriate and ongoing training. Work knowledge and skills requirements are constantly changing. In successful organizations, learning is at the center of how they differentiate themselves. Kimo Kippen former CIO of Hilton says it best:

“Organizations must have a mindset around growth, a mindset around how they regard failure, and a constant diet of reskilling and upskilling in the organization. If you are not learning, you are not growing, and if you are not growing, how do you or the organization succeed?”

Read what ATT is doing in Continuous Learning for a Constantly Changing World

The learning shift means a new learning approach rather than a new type of learning. The heads of Learning and Development are still in charge of this new learning approach and strategy. They facilitate having a variety of content available and paving the way for collaborative learning. They can recommend or push appropriate content to workers. The learning content is centrally located and easily accessible whether it’s a document, a video, a collaboration, a YouTube piece, reaction to a conference session, or a course from the LMS. But the emphasis is on learning through collaborating with a group. From this collaborative learning, leaders often emerge who have ideas to share and use 360Learning’s authoring tools to easily create a piece of content to further support the learning. These leaders get feedback on their content through smart recommendations for authors enabling them to enhance the content they produce. The type of content we are talking about here is not new, but what is new is the way it is assembled and the emphasis on collaborative learning and content authoring by team members. who become known as learning leaders.

Learning and development (L&D) must reinvent its role. Whether in a face-to-face or online learning environment, L&D instructors need to make a change to support a collaborative learning environment. This means shifting from the one who has the knowledge and transmits it to the learners to a facilitator who orchestrates the context, provides resources, and poses questions to stimulate learners’ thinking. Each learner must make sense of the new information in terms of what that learner already knows. Learners are at the center of the process thinking and discussing ideas and making meaning for themselves. As the saying goes, the instructor moves from “the sage-on-the-stage to the guide-on-the- side.” In this role, L&D also curates appropriate content from many sources inside and outside the organization. They work collaboratively with subject matter experts (SMEs) from the business to create specific business content. The SMEs provide the content and the L&D staff provide the best learning context.

A new technology platform supports collaborative learning This new platform is called a learning engagement platform. The name was coined three years ago by 360Learning, a six-year old Paris, France and New-York-based organization. The technology supports collaborative learning and learning creation among field leads and their teams. This learning approach is especially relevant to the way today’s workers like to learn with short learning bites related to the work they are doing and supported often by challenging discussions – a great offering for those who believe in this vision.

360Learning has secured $41 million in funding specifically to:

·       Accelerate product innovation and double the size of its research and development function

·       Expand its global reach with new offices in New York City and London, England.

·       Build market presence in its new locations

Nicolas Hernandez, 360Learning’s CEO explains his company’s learning agenda. “We’re in an aggressive expansion phase, fueled by growing demand for 360Learning products. This financing accelerates 360Learning’s ability to carry out that growth strategy into major markets in the US and UK. Our focus remains innovative learning and development products, best-in-class customer experiences, and world-class leadership.”

360Learning has over 1200 customers in 160 countries including customers like UK’s Kingfisher, Pizza Hut, and Air Canada. It is positioned to transform learning into a collaboration revolution. We’ve seen this with Slack, GitHub, and Salesforce. . . why not with 360Learning! To see more about what 360Learning offers, visit its website!

[i] Pew Research Center https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/11/millennials-largest-generation-us-labor-force/