May 2008


Google Generation & A Learning Challenge

The article ‘Learning For the Google Generation’ by Jeanne C. Meister tells us about the Google Generation and draws attention to a key challenge organizations face to address the learning needs of this generation.

The ‘Google Generation’ includes all those young people born after 1993 and who grew up in a world dictated and lead by the Internet. These young people either have little or fail to have any idea of life before the web. They are also synonymously termed as ‘digital natives’, ‘the Net generation’ or the ‘millennials’.

According to Educause Review March/April 2006 this group of individuals has their own unique characteristics such as they prefer the keyboard than writing in a spiral book, or are happier to be reading from the computer screen than paper in hand etc. One of the key features of this group is constant connectivity; that is that they want to be in touch with family and friends at all times and from any place. Thus the ‘Google Generation’ differs in their expectations, attitudes and perceptions with regard to school, work and career development.

Organizations now are now struggling to find ways to best attract, develop and retain this generation as they enter the workforce. To develop a policy that allows access to social networking sites at work is one of the key challenges organizations face in this regard. Companies also find it challenging to retain their younger employees because their IT infrastructure fails to meet their standards. Thus, learning departments now study as to how to include the social networking needs of the millenials into the delivery mix.

The article then gives an example of Deliotte and shows how they cater to the social networking needs of its employees. It organizes an employee film festival where new employees make short films, creative videos, titled “What’s Your Deloitte?” Thereby it encourages their new hires to articulate their vision of the organizational culture and its values. The best of the short films are then uploaded on YouTube. In order to create networks for its recent hires Deloitte also uses Facebook.

Another example of social networking is the rise in the number of blogs of CEOs and other high ranked executives of publicly traded companies. Examples here are; Jonathan Schwartz, “Jonathan’s Blog” — CEO of Sun Microsystems and Bill Marriott, “Marriott on the Move” — CEO of Marriott International.

Thus learning departments should take this special need of the Google Generation into consideration because this generation will demand the use of same tools at work that they are habituated to in their private lives.

Reference:

Cf: http://www.clomedia.com/includes/printcontent.php?aid=2142; April 30th 2008

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Building a Learning Culture

Here’s an article on Building a Learning Culture by Josh Bersin. I found it very interesting to read about what exactly constitutes a ‘true learning culture’.

The focal point of several learning organizations is performance driven learning; where they concentrate on solving timely and urgent business challenges. This can involve training employees to use a new application to even train them to support the launch of a new product etc. It is said that the performance driven programs help organizations achieve a competitive advantage, short term results and have measurable business impact.

The following factors; however, determine the success of performance driven programs; first of all we have performance consulting where you need to analyze the business problem to be solved; secondly the needs analysis which involves knowing the audience and their learning needs; next is content development in which one develops and builds interesting and engaging content; then we move on to program management where you deploy and manage the program; followed by implementing the technology and finally metrics where you measure the results and identify the areas of improvement.

However, the article emphasizes that concentrating only on performance driven programs is not enough. A true learning culture should incorporate and focus on learning which helps an organization to grow, develop the talent of its employees, adapt to changes etc. This is where talent driven learning comes in. The talent driven learning aspect of the organization includes much more than just skill development. It concentrates on developing behavior, attitudes and vital corporate competencies.

Talent driven programs or learning can be found in many forms; it can be a multi-tiered leadership development programs or an end to end sales training program. It is essential to note that the program must be integrated with career development and performance management for its successful implementation. Through talent driven learning organizations experience intangible gain such as employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, employee engagement, innovation etc.

The article thus brings to light that equal focus on performance and talent driven learning is at the heart of a learning culture. Thereby, a learning culture not only recognizes the necessity to concentrate on performance and improvements, but also on organizational and individual learning as a component of its business strategy.

Learning Culture = Performance Driven Learning + Talent Driven Learning

Reference:

Cf: http://www.clomedia.com/best-practices/josh-bersin/2008/April/2141/index.php?pt=a&aid=2141&start=3050&page=2; April 30th 2008