The topic of this week's #lrnchat session was Learning Malpractice. That's not exactly a common term used in the Learning community, but luckily a blog post by Clark Quinn was shared ahead of the chat that helped lay some foundation for the discussion. You can find that blog post here.
I able to participate in the afternoon session and part of the evening session and, as usual, found the discussion to be very enjoyable and educational.
I always find looking at the four questions that are used to loosely guide that chat as a nice way to see the overall theme of the chat. Here are the four discussion questions that were presented to the group:
Q1) What examples of learning malpractice have you seen?
Q2) What is/are the remedies to learning malpractice?
Q3) How do we know the difference between good learning and its opposite – what distinguishes the "good"?
Q4) How do we influence stakeholders to not settle for lesser quality in the learning experience?
Key Learning Points
Like many terms in Learning and Development, 'Learning Malpractice' is a little misleading. There's nothing wrong with the learning, or the learner for that manner. Learning Malpractice refers to the gross errors made in the design, development, or delivery of learning plans.
We also need to ensure we are focusing on the needs of the organization and the needs of the learner. You may notice that the needs of the instructor are not included in that equation. That's because focused attention on the organization and learner needs will satisfy what the needs of the Learning professional should be.
There was also plenty of examples of ways that Learning Professionals fail learners, including failing to challenge them, executing their performance to change without providing ongoing support, and expecting behavior change when all we do is tell them to act differently without giving them a chance to experience the change.
When the discussion shifted to how we can avoid Learning Malpractice, there were again some common themes in the comments. One theme was the need to ensure that there is clarity and agreement on what the expectations are of the learning plan. Another point was to not focus on learning at all, and to focus on performance instead (Another example of the language of the profession sometimes being an obstacle in itself).
I think my favorite tweet of the day that best summarized the challenge and solution of Learning Malpractice can from @briandusablon:
Give a crap about your end users. Then, challenge others to do the same.
I think if all Learning Professionals followed that simple rule, much of the Learning Malpractice would simply go away.
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