And, the hand of an old friend…

Talking of the progression in learning industry (refer to my previous post here), it seems some old concepts remain relevant forever. Bloom’s Taxonomy looks like one – still applicable in every context. Whether it is chunking of information or picking the right modality for a piece of content, Bloom’s taxonomy has been the guiding factor forever. Its intuitive and its simple. And, think about it – all other pyramids seem to built on the basic levels of cognition. Notice the mapping with pyramid for digital learning below.

blooment

Similarly, look at the design pyramid or the customer experience pyramid – all that really changes the level of cognition and therefore the level of solution.

P.S. The engagement pyramid here shows a consolidation of terms from pyramids defined by various organizations/individuals since they more or less mean the same thing.

From “training” to “learning”…

transition1

I started my career over 13 years ago and strangely enough – in learning industry. Starting with writing crisp, concise sentences with proper flow and grammar and moving on to writing good scenarios and using innovative presentation strategies, to now defining business problems, defining the right blend of modalities, and finding newer techniques to support learning at work, the journey has surely been exciting and rewarding!! And thinking about it, learning industry has come a long way. I started in the era of content conversions where the key objective was to move content to digital format as CBTs/WBTs. Most part of the training used to be static, with clear focus on writing crisp, concise, and grammatically correct sentences. The use of media was limited to filling up the frames with relevant images, until the technology evolved and in came the era of highly interactive, Flash-based courses with good presentation strategies and focus on effective use of scenarios. “Learning by doing” and 80:20 rule were the buzzwords that made scenario-based simulations the most desired form of learning assets. Cut to now – the era of completely responsive learning assets in various modalities, fitting various needs and the role of learning professionals extending beyond the formal learning programs to support performance at real jobs. With millennials entering the workforce, both learning industry and the technology to support the  learning are moving at a fast pace. But it looks like the the speed of change is only going to increase so let’s see how quickly and well enough are learning professionals able to impact business.

 

Work life balance or work life integration?

work_lifeThe topic/debate about work life balance has been on my mind for quite some time now. Mostly because I’ve witnessed many of my team members/peers/friends across departments and organizations complain about not going off balance often. Only after writing most of this piece and then researching Google for how much has been written about the topic, I figured that this has been a hot topic researched by many scholars off late.

So while all of us know and realize that there’s been a lot of debate about work life balance in HR circles as well as amongst employees in last few years, what is work life balance anyway? Restricting work hours to usual 8/9 hours? So do most of us really work longer than 9 hours – on a regular basis?

Traditionally, employees used to work in regular 8/9 hr shifts (mostly 9AM to 6PM) and seems that’s what they called a balanced life – doing work during work time and not thinking about work after stepping out from office premises. The definition hasn’t changed amongst many employees even today. But the truth is that most of us, at least in the Services industry, have started working with global customers (and therefore different time zones) in last few years, and job requirements demand us to be available for longer than the usual 9 hours. But is “being available” same as “working” for longer than 9 hours – on a regular basis?

Picture this – you work with a customer who is in a different time zone. About twice a week, you connect with the customer in your late evening/early morning. However, the time you spend in customer meetings is mostly a planned activity from the point of view of planning/effort estimation/billing. So, does it make your life off balance? Or does spending that one hour in the evening/morning on a conference call reduce one hour from your usual work time? Add to this, checking your emails in late evening/early morning to ensure that you’ve all interactions/responses in place from the customer for the effective functioning on the next day. Does that reduce your work time and increase effectiveness the subsequent day? And, probably help you get free from work a couple of hrs early to enjoy a longer evening/morning at home or makes your afternoon free enough to get out of offfice for some time and finish that important shopping? If the answer is no, you should perhaps try a combination of time management, work planning, prioritization, and saying “NO” J

For the rest of us, a lot of times all of us have bouts of increased workload on certain days, but we also have windows of idle time on other days. There are lot of times when we have busy mornings, but there are also times when we have free evenings. And, that’s because no organization plans for over 8 hours of work for any employee/project/team on a regular basis. We’re mostly available for personal life 24/7, then why not for work? Perhaps we should focus on “blending/integrating” work with life rather than looking for a balance. Once we do that, the balance will follow through. Of course, we’ll all need to like and own our work as much as we like and own other aspects of our lives.

A couple of requirements to make this happen:

1. Flexibility and commitment from employee as well as the organization he/she works for
2. Effective planning/time management for work as well as personal life – strictly no over planning on a regular basis

So, is it really about work life balance or work life integration? What do you think?

A Fresh Start…!!

Well, can’t believe –  I’m back to the blogging world.  I’ve been thinking of doing it for a while now, but as they say – you do hit a writer’s block some time in life. Mine lasted for over 7 years – that’s when I closed my last blog formally.  And, I’m still apprehensive if I’ll be able to carry on with this one regularly. Keeping my fingers crossed!

So, for now, I’m back to the writing world. Not in the same space though. While my earlier blog was more about personal life, thoughts, experiences, and some random rantings, I’m looking forward to write about work life and my domain –  instructional design and e-learning – this time!

It’s a great feeling to be back. I’m looking forward to connect and interact with many of you through this little space.