Over at the Learning Circuits Blog the Big Question is "How do we break down organizational walls when it comes to learning?" So, here are some practical tips and advice on how to break down the organizational walls.
- First off, always be on the lookout for opportunities to bring external learning inside the organization. Whether online courses that can be linked to from the LMS or bringing a live training event into the classroom, potential opportunities should always be on your radar.
- Social media - Right now I am in the midst of encouraging staff to use social media as a learning and teaching tool. This is challenging especially when some staff are reluctant in embracing any new technology. Social media provides access to an immense amount of informal learning and direct access to experts outside the organization walls. My advice, be patient, keep encouraging its adoption, tout the positive results and give it time to catch on.
- Give staff easily accessible avenues to getting over the wall like links to social bookmarks that contain well organized, tagged, learning opportunities. I also like to plaster QR codes wherever I can that also take staff to these bookmarks or to specific sites relating to subjects relevant to staff.
- A big barrier for too many organizations is simply getting access outside the firewall especially access to social media. Start selling the powers to be on the benefits of more open access to social media.
- An issue I have seen at numerous organizations is time limitation for non-exempt staff. In other words, organizations encourage exempt (salaried) staff to take courses during whatever time is convenient to them, but do the exact opposite for non-exempt staff. The reason being organizations do not want to pay staff for possible overtime. Either set aside time for their development within the allotted 40 hours of work time or be willing to pay for their time beyond the 40 hour work week. Remember, your staff deserves, and is well worth, your organization's investment.
- Coach staff on their job development. Coworkers should be open to giving advice and coaching fellow coworkers looking for opportunities for development including assisting with finding learning opportunities available outside the organizational wall.
- How many times has a coworker went to a conference and not shared what they learned or the resources they found? Make sure there are avenues and expectations for this information to be shared. Even if it is as simple as sending an email with links to resources and learning opportunities found.
- Less we not forget, tuition reimbursement programs greatly encourage staffs' academic growth. If your organization does not have one, start asking for it. If they do have one, take advantage of it and encourage others to do the same.
Any other suggestions on how to assure learning is not restricted by the organization wall? Add them in the comments section or write a post and let us know at the Learning Circuits Blog.