Learning is...not about training at Twitter
No training at Twitter? Not exactly... In the October 2015 issue of CLO magazine, Melissa Daimler, head of learning and organizational development at Twitter mentions, "the intent wasn’t to come in and build a bunch of training classes at Twitter." Learning, she said, is not about training. “We’ve always been about creating an environment of learning for employees similar to how we think about our platform." She is correct. Learning is not ALWAYS about training. Learning is the acquisition of knowledge through study or discovery. It's filling in the pieces of the puzzle and need not involve practice. It can be done self-service as individuals. Instead of formal training, a video, webinar, or quick start guide may be all that is required. Training is practicing an established process or procedure. A tennis player (trains) practices her backhand hundreds of times a week so it becomes virtually hardwired in her body and brain. It's usually done with help - a trainer, a coach or facilitator. Can you imagine her watching a webinar on backhands and skipping practice before the US Open? Absurd. That's nice you say, but why should I care? Have you ever asked for training on something when you really meant learning? Are you simply filling in the pieces, needing expert commentary or an introduction to a concept? If so, they don't require "training." Daimler is facing the same dilemma at Twitter, people asking for training when they really need to be turned loose in a learning environment. Or the reverse, do you think of your work as manual? Business people rarely do, they feel it is all cerebral, a quick webinar will do. But a sales person mastering a new presentation, a customer service rep handling calls, an account manager entering details in an application are manual processes requiring training (practice) to truly master. They need to build muscle memory and to instill habits, just like a tennis player. Learning is not always about training, but it's important to know the difference and to apply the right intervention at the right time. What do you think? Have you ever needed practice or coaching and been handed a stack of power points instead? Or been forced into a formal training when a quick learning video or discussion could have done the trick?