Potato/Po-TAH-to: Learning and Development Jargon World

When I come across new terminology for what is essentially "old school" strategy or methodology, I have to smile. I smile because it really is true, everything old is new again if you stick around long enough to experience it. Following are a few examples of what I mean. Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Social Learning: Learning has always been social and as old as time. 100s of years ago, women used to get up very early and gather at the closest water source to (of course) get their water supply for the day. But that is also where they shared their stories, the young ones learned from the elders, shared tips and tricks, etc. Groups of men engaged in hunting and gathering rituals to eat. Schools and classrooms are highly social learning venues, with thehierarchy and rituals of a social setting. (Remember those reading and math groups? Yikes!)

Distance Learning Back in the day, people completed correspondence courses. That's what distance learning was. Someone could live in the remotest parts of the continent and if postal mail delivered there, they could send their assignments and receive feedback and grades from a teacher in another location. That is what is now referred to as asynchronous learning.

Synchronous distance learning is seemingly ubiquitous these days. We tweet chat, we hang out on G+, and use invite only Yammer groups. Facebook too--of a sort. Peer learning and connected learning models are popular and widely used. If you have ever used Moodle, WebEx, GoTo Meeting, or one of the many collaborative and interactive white boards now on the Web, you’re learning or providing learning synchronously.

Therefore, in present day terms distance learning might have an “e” or digital component(s). But it is still learning at a distance, or distance learning.

Training is now Learning, Performance, Organizational Development to mention a few. That’s ok. They’re likely more accurate most of the time.

Are you, or members of your group, still engaged in good ole lectures to your learner population? With handouts that haven’t been updated in eons, as well. (note: If you know someone in our profession with this going on, please share this blog post as a reminder to get over it and move on.) If any of what I've written applies to you, then you’re not able to say you’ve moved forward into the areas of performance, performance support or organizational development. You’ve got some work to do. Get on that—now!

Training, Learning, Development, Facilitation I used to be a "Trainer". Lately, that word is not well thought of in many circles. I suppose because “training” often has a bad reputation. I don't get it. A while back, I believe it was Shaq who said on a tv ad, “hate the player, not the game”. If the “training” in your organization has this reputation, you’re just the person to change it. Get on that—now!

Are you a lifelong learner? I don’t see any other way to do this work we do. Continuously working at doing it better, finding innovative ways for learners to learn is an imperative. No longer a “nice-to-have”.

I say call me anything you want I’m still going to be here trying to do this work better. Bugging you for new ideas. Asking questions about how you’ve done things (fairly recently). When you did X or Y, what tool or tools did you use? How did you define and measure success? I’ve got a million of ‘em! Watch. Me. Go!