Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Work in progress: how we learn

As we launch Learning week 2017 at TDX Group, I have been reflecting on what learning means to me and to TDX Group as an organisation.
In my job I am often asked, ‘What training can I have?’, ‘How do I know what I need?’, ‘What will TDX Group do for me?’ and ‘How much money can I spend?’.
I used to measure and report on how many training courses we ran and how many ‘people hours’ of training we did and that somehow would make me feel good about the amount of ‘stuff’ we were doing – our colleagues *must* be learning all of the time, right? And yes I’m sure many of them were and have been then able to use what they have learnt to progress their careers. But, if we’re honest, there are times when we have all gone along for a course, enjoyed the lunch and come back to work. Guess what? Nothing changed… but the chips were nice... and the satisfaction scores were 4.3 out of 5.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to engage people, draw them in and then send them back into the world with an appetite for change and a curiosity and thirst for knowledge and I wonder if the day of the typical training course is disappearing and we need to do things differently.
In other parts of our lives (and even in the way our children learn at school) we use devices to watch TED talks, or listen to podcasts, or consult the University of Google (J), taking in knowledge in short, bitesize sessions. We want information quickly and we talk to our friends and colleagues and share information. This feels like a much more natural and self-driven method of learning. And, actively making the choice about what, when and why is critical. What I have definitely learnt is that individuals really need to have the desire to learn and to drive their own development – not to ask others to do it for them. This takes time, commitment and an awful lot of self-reflection and persistence. What I’ve also learnt is that when people are prepared to share their knowledge and expertise rather than hold it as power, then others can fly. Seeing someone who shares and applies their knowledge and experience in the workplace provides the role-modelling that is needed to turn information into learning and learning into change – for an individual, and for an organisation. 
This is what is so amazing about TDX Group for me and this shines brightly with Learning week. So many of our colleagues have offered their time and expertise to volunteer to run sessions on a broad variety of subjects from taxation (yes… really) to Spanish and mindfulness, personal brand and project management. 
We have an amazing resource bank of knowledge and a team of people keen to share it.
So go on ... offer up your time, share your knowledge, make a difference.
By Jo Thorburn, HR Business Partner, TDX Group

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