Workscaping

Jay Cross and the end of formal training (sort of).

Learning how to cut up radishes would seem to be a skill better learned at the Culinary Institute of America than in a restaurant on Cape Cod. Indeed, Mr. Cross acknowledges that Anthony Bourdain saved years by going to school rather than apprenticing in a kitchen. His professional development was accelerated through training. That said, however, Mr. Cross goes on to call formal training wasteful and ineffective.  I don’t see the balance of formal and informal training recognized.  Both kinds of training are needed and both are effective when used in the right circumstance.  In my mind you can talk about the importance of informal training to learning the different aspects of a job and the ways to provide an environment supportive of informal learning without tossing all other kinds training (end of rant).

The concept of workscape as a means of supporting informal learning at all levels of an organization seems necessary for success in today’s organizations. By creating opportunities to collaborate, connect and form relationships, making communication easy, necessary and in all directions within the organization, fostering the right to failure as a learning experience, and encouraging innovation and the expression of contrary ideas, organizations will create the environment for informal learning. I am especially appreciative of ensuring informal learning at all levels of the organization, not just for the novices.  Through sharing and problem solving at more senior levels, results-oriented performance measures can be reached with a much higher payback than just knowing that a novice understands the basics of the work.

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