Learning is often commissioned, procured and delivered in defined projects. But people don’t live in projects: they live in time, progressing through multiple projects, sometimes simultaneously. This can lead to a challenges, where different learning experiences, all coherent in their own right, become disjointed or conflicting when lined up over time.
Understanding the everyday reality of the learner is a phrase that i try to use in the early, context, stages of the learning methodology. It’s where we form a contract with them: give me some of your time and i will give you a piece of learning that is worthy of that investment. Those aren’t just hollow words: we need to ensure that whatever we produce is of a sufficient quality to engage and retain the attention of the learner against a background of activity and pressure that we may not fully understand.
Organisations do not tend to exist in a state of equilibrium, interspersed with sudden bouts of change. Rather, they tend to exist in a constant state of change, within the turbulent flow of which, people try to maintain equilibrium. This is important. Whatever we are training exists as a small oasis of calm within this chaos, but it does not exist in isolation. If people have three training programmes to complete, and each one of those programmes proclaims that it’s essential for the success of the business, someone is lying. Or at least, someone is failing to understand the everyday reality of learners on the shop floor.
Setting context is important, but it’s not just setting context within our own learning project: it’s about setting the context for the individual within their reality.