Before I start, I would like to clarify that this post follows a very different line with regard to my usual style. If I’m not wrong, this is the first think piece that I write on the blog and let me begin by saying that the ideas expressed herein are just that, my own ideas.
The other day I was reading an article written by Marina in which he criticized the paper of some learning instructors and how we lose ourselves in so many theories and in the end everything stays the same. To a large extent, I may agree with him, but I also believe that it is necessary to take a look on the other side.
Learning instructors from another world.
I am one of those atypical learning instructors. One of those who has to constantly answer the question “and what does a learning instructor do in a company?”
I’ve always had really clear that what interests me the most is ongoing training, try to achieve that people take conscience that it’s not enough with studying a degree, postgraduate studies and start working forever. I have addressed it from many perspectives: informal learning, motivation, rhythms of life, learning theories, technology… and the conclusion is that I don’t understand anything.
We live in a changing world.
It may sound typical, but I challenge you to do something: Do you keep any of the books of your days at school? Take a look at it, see how the countries were defined, see what we knew about the Universe, investigate how determined diseases were treated… You’ll be surprised with the things you learned at that moment that today don’t have any sense.
The action protocol you learned in due course will probably be revised and changed. That product which was used in construction may have been prohibited or substituted with another with better properties. It’s possible, even, that tomorrow your profession ceases to exist or that your work is done by a machine.
Some companies don’t see this as something they need or as an inversion in order to be more competitive or to reduce risks. On the contrary, they see it as an expense. Training, like everything else in life in life, costs money. How much does it cost to not train people given this scenario? But I don’t want to stop here. There are companies which are quite clear about it, and make their most to create custom-built training programs.
Do we want to learn?
Today I was reviewing the participation reports of the employees enrolled in a training activity of one of the companies which are using Snackson in order to boost their teaching-learning processes. Participation has been of 50 %. It’s true that the half participating, did it very actively, reading all the contents and dedicating some minutes to answer correctly the questions.
Hooray for them!
But the other 50% didn’t even made the effort to access the app. A process that I can assure you that doesn’t require more than 1 minute of time. And then arrives the moment when the user contacts you and comes out with a point which cannot leave you indifferent:
“I am not going to install that on my phone. They should give me a company phone”
I have to recognize that the argument stunned me. It must be stressed that nobody has to provide any personal data to use Snackson, not even their phone number. You can simply log in by introducing your corporate email.
It must be that so hackneyed statement of the digital divide, and that with my 27 years of life I see things differently. If tomorrow my boss suggests me to use a company phone I’d say he’s gone mad. Seriously? Carrying out two mobile phones? I take for granted that on my calendar I’ll have both personal and professional questions. Because my personal life also involves my job. At 5 o’clock I have a meeting and at 7 I have to be at the dentist’s. I am against having to consult two different devices to remember it.
We can call it BYOD phenomenon, ubiquity… I simply think that it’s something logical and practical. But it seems it’s not like that for everyone.
Some people object to using their own device to learn, as if the knowledge they can acquire wasn’t something that benefits them and their personal growth.
But I don’t think mobile phones are the problem. I’m convinced that the same user would have found any excuse for any other kind of training. Because here, without a deep analysis, I discern a problem related to interest and will. Training is still seen as an obligation for some people, not as an opportunity, an investment or an intellectual and personal enrichment.
Maybe the problem is something deeper…
I understand the technical difficulties (versions, operating system…) that certain part of the population could have. We do ever everything possible to help and mitigate those setbacks. For some people, learning via mobile phone is still something strange, but the installation and access processes in themselves should already mean learning something new for them.
In a world that tends to centralize all the procedures via Internet, to online banking and to NFC technology payments, not accepting the change can make them become the new illiterates.
I remember that my father told me that years ago, salaries weren’t received on a monthly basis, nor were them received through a bank transfer. It was in an envelope that their superior handed them every week. When everything got centralized to current accounts, lots of them didn’t even have a current account. Today, it would seem impossible to us to manage this procedure as formerly. Couldn’t be the same thing happening now?
I think that approaching the problem of education in one only direction is a mistake. I don’t think that learning instructors, companies, nor users could be directly blamed. There are many factors involved in a training or educational process. The most visible and common ones are the figure of the teacher and the learner, but we also take into account the organization, policy, resources available, social context…
We should stop for a moment and analyze what is happening. Is it a matter of education in its most global dimension? Is it a problem related to making oneself comfortable by the part of some people who haven’t developed an interest in self-improvement and learning? Is it a poor approach by the part of the educational processes?
That’s a lot of questions and I’m afraid they won’t have a clear and direct answer.
Post translated by Carolina Serna