Monday, January 05, 2009

Plans, Challenges, Predictions

Response to LCB's Big Question for the Month


Avoid going with the flow of trends. When a new trend or a new tool is being announced almost everyday, it is something to be skeptical about. So much has been written about the changing use of media and millennial preferences that we have probably failed to see what was really changing. Web 2.0 cannot wish away formal learning in the foreseeable future—the idea is to make learning richer using technology, not poorer. (It’s a poor strategy to play the wisdom of crowd against the wisdom of specialists—both have their place).

A question to think about: Why do people leave corporate jobs to join graduate programs when they could have just picked up those skills informally at the workplace?


Finding answers to the following questions:

1. What are we in this profession for? Are we genuinely interested in helping people learn or are we just peddling our beliefs and pet fads as what constitute good learning? Or, is it just about sticking to the client brief even when we instinctively know it's an ineffective solution? If we are genuinely interested, how much do we push our clients to figure out whether people really learn from our solutions, how significant those learnings are for them, and whether they get to apply that learning at work?
2. Do we really matter as a profession? What happens if our kind disappears and we are not replaced?
3. At a very practical level, what impact will the R word have on us?


Opportunities to sell learning will reduce. However, opportunities for learning will increase.


Blogger Manish Mohan said...

I think people join graduate program to gain certification and get a better corporate job :-).

Love your prediction quote!!! Gotta use it somewhere.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Anil Mammen said...

That was exactly my point, Manish. Certification and where you get the skills from -- part of formal learning -- are what provides credibility to an individual in a civil society. Whether it's right or wrong, that's a fact that we have to face. To a lesser extent the same fact applies in a workplace too.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Albert said...


Having been of that species, I clearly fall within the group that believes there is value in taking a sabbatical and joining a graduate program....i don’t completely agree that you can pick up those skills informally in the workplace....a good graduate school has good professors, good material and a class of good students....that combination can never be found in the workplace....maybe eventually a good student can get there but I think going to a good graduate school crashes the timeframe and provides a richer environment......

i didnt necessarily to it for the certification to get a better job....i did do it because i was getting bored and wanted to scratch an itch and felt the need for bits of knowledge and skills that i knew i did not have as a hard core techie.....


12:46 AM  
Blogger Anil Mammen said...

Hi Albert: When I put that as a question what I had in mind was the kind of response you've written (plus the certification angle valued by corporations and government organizations). In the blogging world of learning professionals, I've been seeing a trend that constantly derides the value of teaching, expertise, and formal learning. And I think it's futile to pitch informal learning against formal as both have their relevance and place. What we need (at least in a country like India) are more teachers, more institutions of learning, and more rigour in our approach to education.

2:34 AM  

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