Hello, Stranger

April 22, 2008

 This blog is another voice in the online, dynamic conversation around workplace learning. There are broadly three things on my mind these days that have me excited (yes, I’m a geek like that):  Emerging technologies, informal learning, and “lean.”  While there is a great deal of talk about Web 2.0 and other technologies implications on learning, I haven’t seen too much talk about how we might apply lean principles to instructional design.

First things first.

Things are changing. Not just the technologies, but assumptions and mindsets. Web 2.0 is empowering a new way of learning. This new way is one that lets ME decide what I want to learn, when I want to learn it, and connect with whomever I want (or whomever wants to connect with me!) to share ideas. I don’t have to wait for some training director or departmental boss to dictate what, how, when. While there is certainly a place for that and for formal, push-from-the-top training, there is a great need to balance that with informal and “pull-from-where-I-am-now” learning.

Speaking of “pull,”  what is Lean and why should you care?

“Lean” is short for “Lean manufacturing” and is a process management philosophy that grew out of the “Toyota Production System. ”  Lean thinking is powerful stuff and has transformed the way a lot of companies in the manufacturing world operate. Some of the core principles focus on waste reduction and continous problem-solving by all team members, pull processing, flow and visual control. While the concepts and tools were developed for manufacturing processes, they have been applied to administrative and office processes with amazingly effective results.

As an instructional designer and learning consultant, it didn’t take long before I started seeing implications for workplace learning and instructional design. Like what? Well, that’s what I’ll be gabbing about in the days ahead, sharing what I know and hopefully learning some stuff from you as well.

’til then, Happy Learning….