Heyjoe training and self-directed learning

In comments to my post about seelou training, my friend Ann Yakimovicz talks about resistance she has toward “totally self-directed learning.”

It theoretically would be nice for each employee to choose his/her own learning path, but this adds to their self-service load. They have to have good online search skills to navigate the LMS, then evaluate the choices they find without manager guidance. As a result of HR outsourcing, managers are too busy filling out the latest quarterly goals report in the performance management system or filling out their own hiring or termination documents to hold conversations with their employees.

Ann sees more and more people relying on heyjoe training:

“Hey, Joe — do you know how to extract data and automatically create a graph in Excel?”

Possibly a lift, but not support

Sometimes, heyjoe training is just fine— though maybe it’s really heyjoe support.  You’ve got an immediate need; you look for an immediate solution.  When it works, great, but the drawbacks are equally obvious:

  • What happens when Joe (or all the available Joes) don’t have the answer?
  • What happens when you can’t frame your question well?
  • What happens when Joe (a coworker, a contact, someone in HR or training) starts turning into a discount version of customer support — or of a security blanket?

I actually think it’s vital for people in the workplace to actively manage their own job-related learning.  But I don’t think that lets the organization off the hook.

The drawbacks I list (along with others you can think of) are systemic ones.  As an individual, your on-the-job learning is a personal concern.  The organization needs to concern itself not only with your learning but with everyone’s.  That means a systematic and systemic approach toward problems (or opportunities) for improving performance.

Seelou training and heyjoe support will tend over time to petrify and mythologize past practice.  The antidote is an effective way* to request, receive, provide, and give feedback on both training and performance support.

*  As in, seen as effective by people on the job.

CC-licensed coworker “support” photo by K W Reinsch.