The Business of Learning

The Learning Shift: Moving from a push to pull model

We all remember sitting at that familiar desk at school or university; probably set in neat and organized rows. Learning was not chaotic. Our job was to listen, take notes, ponder the content, and ask questions. Class was properly scheduled and the content was the same for all of us. Overall, it seemed to work pretty well. There were, of course, drawbacks, such as missing a key point the teacher made or perhaps missing the class entirely. At times, we felt bored.  We either knew the stuff already or didn’t feel it applied to our future needs. I still wonder why I suffered through French.

As we moved into the business environment, the instructor was replaced with a computer where we would once again be lectured – with the goal of increasing our competency or compliance. Only this time it would be via a large set of power point slides, or video vignettes that we often were required to watch each year. Same content for all of us. Ok, some of the content was more entertaining than in the past.

This is the “push” model of learning. And generally speaking, it still dominates learning strategy today.

As time and technology have advanced, the push model has become less relevant and endangered.  These days, if I need to know something – anything – I simply Google it, YouTube it, or maybe go to a chat room for opinions and information. It is certainly how we learn and access information when we are outside of work. And this behavior is not generational. We are all doing this.  Some of us may be more adept at it than others, but it’s the same behavior.

This the “pull” model of learning.

This leads to the question: Do we still need formal training in the workplace? Can we simply leave our employees free to explore and find whatever information they need through wherever source they can?  Or is it more likely that we need both push and pull? We believe that access and relevancy of information is the new training design battleground. For example, pushing the organization’s cultural expectations and ethical behavior makes a lot of sense to even the most progressive company. It’s not up to each employee to decide how we in the organization should behave. Organizations must sometimes set parameters in order to ensure relevancy and compliance with regard to learning content.

But how do we accommodate the “pull’ by employees?  Giving access and freedom to pull as needed is what we now consider “normal”. There is no turning back.

At RPS, we believe that organizational strategy must consider both push and pull and create the learning infrastructure and modalities to accommodate both. We see it as a sliding scale whereby some business roles require more push than pull while other roles require more pull than push.

We have been working the push and pull model with many of our clients. It is always a customized solution based on key business KPI’s, available or desired infrastructure, situational awareness such as scale and importance, and practical matters such as budget and cultural acceptance. Our job is to leverage our experience so offerings can be both effective (gets the job done) and efficient (best value) in obtaining the desired results. Having worked in areas such as technical support, product support and sales, financial services, cyber, defense, government, energy, and auto – each one of these areas has a different push-pull footprint to maximize results.

To learn more about how we can help you develop the right mix of push and pull, visit us here.

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