One of the ways I enjoy learning is by trying to find connections between two seemingly unconnected and unrelated things. I find that the process of building these connections very often opens my mind to possibilities I had not considered before.
I often do this with learning, asking myself the same question: What can 'XYZ' teach me about learning? The fun of it is that 'XYZ' can be anything, and the more difficult it is to build the connections, the more enjoyable and valuable the experience can be.
Recently I explored the connections of employee learning with the critical and commercial success of the video game Angry Birds. In that post, found here, I discussed many of the aspects of Angry Birds that made it a successful video game, and how those same principles can be applied to employee learning.
It's said that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If so, for every blockbuster hit like Angry Birds, or there must be an equally colossal video game failure.
And there is. Any discussion about video game failures must include the 1982 game for the Atari 2600 video game, E.T., The Extra Terrestrial.
This reference may seem a little obscure to some, as the Atari 2600 game E.T. is nowhere near as ubiquitous in 2011 as Angry Birds. So let me give a little background on this game for the uninitiated.
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial is a game for the Atari 2600 video game system based on the classic Steven Spielberg film of the same name. The film was one of the most successful movies of all time, and the Atari 2600 is one of the most successful video games systems of all time. The game was released during the holiday season at a time when the system and video games in general were very popular.
Despite the fact that this is the second post I have written in a week's time with a video game as part of it's topic, this blog is not about gaming; it’s about learning. My posting last week regarding Angry Birds explored what a successful video game might teach us about employee learning. This week's posting is similar, with a more cautionary tone. Let's explore why this game failed, and how we can avoid having our learning programs suffer a similar fate.
Point #1: Remember (and Respect) the Time-Cost-Quality Triangle
When something is being produced, there are three measurements related to the production: Time, Cost, and Quality, as demonstrated by the triangle on the left. The basic idea of this triangle is to show the connectedness of these three measurements, and the fact that you can not improve one measurement without adversely affecting at least one other.