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Learning Through Technology It’s unavoidable…or is it?

I hear it a lot.

“How do you get time to surf social media feeds?”

“Where do you fit in that MOOC study time?”

“It’s not my preferred style of learning – give me a coach/conference/classroom”.

“It’s the chance to work it through with others you see…”

Also known as reasons I don’t DO any learning through technology.

Yet contrasting with this, are the many revered voices in learning who have been saying it for years – the future of learning is digital.

So we are all all doing that then, surely?  Well, see above, we’re far from it.

I hear this a lot too.  I hear it more from very senior figures.  No time to learnToo busy to developI’ve arrived anyway so don’t need it.

There may be trouble ahead…

But what we ARE doing is getting more digitally enabled.  For example, many of us – senior executives included – are consuming news content digitally – and we learn from that.

We receive our conference call up papers via a pdf that we never print out, instead we refer to them to plot the journey there that day when we step off our train.

We may have a coaching conversation by Skype call and then the notes of the conversation are stored in a cloud drive.

We do all this but we don’t label it as digital or online learning (or part of the process of learning online).

So what IS the stuff we say we’ve no time for / not our preference etc.?

For me it’s where the learning feels like more of a deliberate effort.  Such deliberate efforts as when we research, receive, engage, deliver, analyse, deduce, watch, experiment, chat, share, create, debate online that SOME people feel is not for them / they haven’t the time / doesn’t work for them.

Are we at an inflection point on learning as we are with more of work generally?  I think we are.  Is the classroom dead, long live the virtual environment?

I think not.  We are seeing a huge take up in alternative ways to learn (largely using digital) coupled with our choicest cuts of traditional in-person development activities.

It’s a little like we get all our vegetables, gravy, seasoning and ingredients delivered through our on line shopping yet our wine, oh no our wine we want to go and taste and talk to someone before we purchase.

So it’s not so much like there’s a revolution to be had at this inflection point more a realisation.  And an attitude shift and some new, clever/creative thinking.


The Charles Jennings coined 70/20//10 model of learning is highly respected and used by many professionals and this is categorised as

l  70% of learning is on the job/experience-based;

l  20% is through coaching and more intimate learning experiences;

l  10% of learning is done in formal classroom environments.

I am offering a new slant but using the same numbers.

l  70% of our learning is delivered TO US through digital means and by our network.  Or as Harold Jarche says, our PLN (Personal Learning Network)

l  20% of our learning is where we consume content we’ve researched and that could be through books; online research; surveys; things WE have decided upon and found out about, and

l  10% of our learning is through traditional conferences, classrooms, coaching conversations we are part of.

Delivered to us; Found by us; Attended with us.

This is no massive shift from Jennings’ original classification.  I’ve simply tinkered with the centre of the content creation/distribution and format.  The original 70/20/10 is about where we learn; this is about our effort in learning. And just how much of your learning content can come from your network.

On this basis, I guess my assertion is that if you are NOT present and active on social media channels you could be missing out on a lot of learning content BUT that the effort involved in this new format of learning is STILL in the traditional space of attending and reading.  The fantastic opportunity is that 70% of our learning could be delivered to us without lifting a finger other than to click follow on some key individual and pressing the app on our phone whenever we’ve a little time to kill.


So I urge anyone reading this – clearly looking after your own learning if you are – that learning through technology in a deliberate and knowing way holds many benefits.  Many gains.  Much new content.  Greater insight and all delivered to you – just like the news.

I hope to see you online, and happy to share some content and contacts with you.

I will be delighted to receive content and thoughts from you.

I might even see you at a conference we find online.

It’s unaviodable really, isn’t it?


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