I challenge everyone to take the good from the old then add it to the new to create a learning solution for your customers that is robust and collaborative. Here’s your homework:
Ned and Anne Nedhi Hermann
The work of the Hermanns has been called out publically by some L&D practitioners. I was privileged to hear Ned Hermann speak at a Training Magazine conference many years ago. He was an innovative genius and passionate about learning. I can’t imagine erasing his contributions to brain research, done well before MRIs were invented.
His “Whole Brain® Thinking” model was developed while he was head of Management Development at General Electric. Herrmann was a physicist by training, so he was intrigued by the brain. He discovered that there were four patterns that emerged about how the brain perceives and processes information. The Whole Brain® Model emerged as a validated metaphor for describing the four different preference modes. His daughter Anne Nedhi Hermann’s Ted Talk is here: https://goo.gl/images/25b8d1. Anne is also a brilliant L&D leader and her ongoing research and contributions improve and drive discoveries, like multiple and emotional intelligence.
Today we know a little more about the brain, including that the Left and Right sides of the brain have very complex interactions. Metaphorically, The Whole Brain® Model works as a way of helping people see different ways of connecting with others. This is not the same as defining the biology of the entire brain, it’s a set of clues that help you work more effectively with others. I highly recommend The Business Brain Book by Ned Hermann to learn how to prepare and adapt to people you have trouble working with. This quote from Ann is important:
“…designed to help thinkers, teams and organizations better benefit from all of the thinking available to them. It acknowledges that while different tasks require different mental processes, and different people prefer different kinds of thinking, organizations will get better results when they can strategically leverage the full spectrum of thinking available.”
We know now that physically, the brain is much more complex than four quadrants. But the metaphor still helps us connect effectively.
Donald, Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick
The big question in L&D has always been ‘did learning occur’? Donald Kirkpatrick, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin and past president of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), first published his Four-Level Training Evaluation Model in 1959.
Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick have continued Jim’s father’s work by updating and clarifying his work:
Check out some of the resources available from Jim and Wendy here:
It’s going to take all of us to continue to seek a clear correlation between training and performance change. By working collaboratively and respecting the contributions of those who came before, we will all be better.
Agile vs. Waterfall
Here an example of dissing the old to jump to an approach believing that there is no other option. The Agile versus Waterfall debates continue to rage. It’s important to look at the words used in the original Manifesto, which was originally designed to build collaboration and drive value to the customer.
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.
This last phrase is important and usually skipped. It is not about throwing out the old, it is about building on it. Agile was originally about software only, now used in many other ways.
This crusade (Agile is perfect, Waterfall is an old fart) is raging in both L&D and IT. Traditional approaches to getting projects done, called Top Down or Waterfall, draw contempt from people who have turned Agile into a sacred calling. It’s common for these zealots to say “Agile is NOT a methodology; it is a way of being.” Agile is a flexible, simple approach that allows collaborative teams to build small bites of finished value. It works really well when the teams are equal and collaborating, the leaders are supportive and the product owners are willing to put in their time with the developers. Making it mysterious creates a barrier of entry for others and behaving as if there are no other options is short-sighted. There are times for Agile and times when you return to other approaches.
You may have heard that waterfall methodologies are passe and bad. Agile has been built with a small, similar process inside. Agile (newish) and Waterfall (old) have situations where they work together. The need of the customer determines the appropriate build strategy, not the fact that the new thing is cooler. Agile Sprints are used to collaboratively prioritize, size, and finish small pieces of work. If you look very carefully at an Agile Sprint, you’ll see an old friend: analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate (ADDIE). Once the developers start working on the small piece, they build a mini ‘waterfall’.
Here’s an example: you have been asked to create an eLearning module on the company’s diversity program. You will explain the behaviors the company requires and quiz people to make sure they understand the expectation. You’ve got the compliance rules and regulations that need to be taught. There are no experts that need to discuss this with you – you’ve got all you need. Agile would be inappropriate for this project because the requirements are clear.
You might be surprised to hear that there are many other methodologies that can be used including SAM (Allen Interaction), Design Thinking, Duarte, etc. All have built on the old to create new.