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Development? Its as simple as cracking a nut


So there I was last Monday, all settled down and watching a beautifully shot film of a monkey hammering a stone down onto the shell of a nut so that it could retrieve the much sort after delicacy contained within. This was part of 'Life' on BBC 1. Watching the monkey got me thinking all about the approach taken by the Orgnisation I work for toward L&D. In the programme the monkey learnt how to crack the nut from a really young age by copying what the adult monkeys did, anyone starting to spot an activist learning style? Once they had learnt the skill it took them up to 8 years of trial and error to fully develop the ability required to be ableto select and crack the right nut so that they could retrieve the prize held inside. So how does this translate back to L&D at my Organisation? Well it is simple. We (I am guessing like many of you) invest great sums of money into high profile learning interventions, sourcing some of the best and most creative external providers in the business to deliver an impressive learning offer. Perhaps we should actually change our focus a little and reduce the amount of learning we offer and instead place more emphasis on how we can support their development back in the work place. We all, just like those little monkeys, have a natural capacity to learn but need more support and guidance to develop our learning into doing things better. I am sure if those monkeys had a proper pdp and coach it wouldnt take them 8 years to crack a nut.

2 Responses

  1. Cheeky monkey!
    Spot on – as explained by the Kirkpatricks, only about 10% of learning happens in the classroom. True, this is often the ‘starting point’ for the learning journey, so must be well-written, well-delivered and engaging to start the learner off on the right foot, but without direction after the first few yards, the individual would get lost and either go back to previous ineffective behaviours and habits or not sustain and embed the new skills learnt. Just imagine a marathon without the course being clearly laid out with marshalls to guide the way, and no St John’s Ambulance on hand to rescue those who are floundering! As you describe Jaimie, it is L&D’s job to do more than just deliver training, but also to provide the infrastructure and support to sustain the change, driven by the line management team.

  2. Nut cracking by monkeys

    Great posting, also proving that you don’t have to right loads to make a point,  totally agree. Less is most certainly more here.

    The training course is part of the journey not the final destination. Without reinforcement and support back in the workplace nothing changes or moves on.

    John Dell’Armi

    PS – Can we introduce a feature on trainingzone where I can click on icon to show I like this (bit like facebook) ?

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