Questioning the learning revolution?

July 25, 2013

If you’ve had any doubts we’re in the middle of a learning revolution, consider this: Jane Hart, Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies and one of my favorite learning thought leaders, once wrote “An increasing number of knowledge workers are finding their own solutions to their individual and team learning and performance problems on the Social Web… bypassing both the IT and L&D [learning & development] department.”

It’s a new world of personal knowledge management (PKM), and this post is still valid; in it, Jane describes some of the changes corporate learning departments are making to adapt. With corporate L&D professionals shifting their roles from providing learning content to supporting employees in learning how to manage their own learning activities, how might this affect associations’ roles in learning?

Considering that associations seem for some reason to lag a year or two behind the corporate world, now is the time to be thinking about it!

Here are a few of my thoughts:

• Associations–especially trade associations with corporate members–could, over time, enjoy increased participation in relevant professional development offerings as members’ employees expand their skills in personal knowledge management (PKM) and reach outside their companies for learning opportunities.

• Associations could also, over time, see a decrease in participation as these employees strengthen their PKM skills and find new, more diverse sources for learning…spreading precious learning time across a larger number of sources.

• Association professional development practitioners will expand/shift their roles parallel to their corporate counterparts: they’ll spend more time supporting members in learning how to learn, providing guidance and resources for members to develop their own skills in PKM. I have no doubt this will occur eventually; the question is more how large and how wide the shift will be.

• Associations and their leaders will realize, if they haven’t already, that one of the most important roles and skills they can have and continuously develop are those related to content curation for members. Not just making content available…helping members, in a more powerful way than ever before, make meaning of that content for their professional/personal lives.

What do you think?

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