When learning is work and work is...

Harold Jarche has a great blog and shares a lot of his thinking on old HR and old learning and what social learning could bring to organizations. Recently he had a post titled 'Work is learning and learning it the work' that got me thinking.

He basically opposed against pulling learning and work out of each other, as it seems to be in many companies. This is shown by the fact that most companies have someone responsible for learning (HR manager or Learning & Development manager) and formal (online) training.

Learning should be the work. Maybe it's even stronger: Learning is the work. Harold challenges us to actively observe how people are learning to do their job right now.

But why is this so hard for companies? I've written about Peter Senge's book before. Hardly any companies I know can truly be called a learning organization. And Senge's book has been out for more than 20 years now...

As Harold proposes, a simple step could be to "provide time and space for reflection and reading". Some companies like Google explicitly give employees time to do something else. But most people are not given time to reflect. They have to take it themselves, because they themselves find it important to learn. What's wrong here?

Maybe the solution is to start at the personal level. Like Harold's focus on PKM (personal knowledge management), we should start with personal learning. We decide to want to learn and therefore need time to reflect and read. If your company doesn't give you that space, maybe you should move on. Is that it? Or are there other ways?

Also refer to this post by John Stepper about why managers do stupid things.

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