Saturday, 20 February 2016

Modern workplace learning

Nigel Paine is an internationally renowned thought-leader in learning and organisational development. With decades of experience in corporate learning, including several years as Head of Training and Development for the BBC, Paine understands the evolution that is currently taking place in workplace learning and the opportunities this presents for learning practitioners.

In his book The Learning Challenge - Dealing with technology, innovation and change in learning and development (2014), Paine explores the change work landscape and makes the case for learning to be at the centre of a transforming workplace.
Using interviews with learning professionals from diverse companies, case studies and expert knowledge, Paine gives advice to learning and organisational development practitioners on how to transition to a redefined role of contemporary learning professional.

Work is no longer 9-5 and office-based, but takes place anywhere at anytime. Rapid advances in technology is changing how we work, communicate and learn. There is a shift underway from instructor-led to learner-focused, from courses to curation, from synchronous to just-in-time learning, from formal to informal learning.

After detailing these changes, Paine then explores 'new ideas for learning'. Here he makes a passionate case for the 70-20-10 model of learning, popularised by Charles Jennings, and the need to measure impact. He cites Brinkerhoff's approach to evaluation and the business success case model, as a means for measuring learning transfer. He also looks at performance support and the evolving role of instructional design.  He concludes with 'the game changers' - learning analytics, neuroscience and technology - and how they will impact workplace learning.

I had the good fortune to hear Mr Paine speak at an Australian learning and development conference in 2014 and I was impressed by his ability to reinforce his ideas with relevant case studies and practical tips to apply in my own work. He does the same thing in this book, as each chapter ends with ideas to immediately start applying the concepts he describes.

This book is clearly written for learning and organisational development professionals and will benefit both those new to the profession as well as established practitioners. However, it should also be read by a broader audience including business leaders seeking to build an engaged, innovative workforce. There are lessons here for all of us as we rise to the learning challenge.