When it comes to learning, we all have an attitude regarding how to learn. This mindset includes how we think others should learn, the best way to learn, if generations really learn differently, and so on. Elliott Masie posted a great article — “Your Learners Have Attitude” — that inspired me to really think about the changes occurring in the learning industry and how they influence what I do and how I think.
Whether within an organization or at home, with adults or kids, I’m amazed by how much has changed since I began working in the industry in the mid-90s. All this change is affecting my attitude towards learning, not only for myself but also as I consult with my clients.
Many clients are moving quickly to implement all that’s new in the industry, whether it be mobile learning, microlearning, or virtual reality. Other clients like to stick to the tried and true — e-learning, instructor-led training (ILT), etc. I know, however, that to succeed as a performance improvement consultant, I need to be very flexible in my thinking, listen to my clients’ needs, and create action steps in order to do the best job I can for them. There have been times when a “more technology advanced” client wanted to go “old school” with its learning initiatives and vice versa. As a consultant, it’s my job to direct them, accept it if they don’t follow my recommendations, and create the best learning solution.
It’s important that I remember that my attitude is able to shift and that I need to be open-minded about different perspectives. It also means that I need to do the same thing if a client, or anyone, isn’t “there” yet. For example, my husband still uses a flip phone (seriously!). He doesn’t want a smartphone. I could continually get on him about this, but I don’t. For his sanity and mine, I’ve resolved to meet him where he’s at… he doesn’t want a smartphone, and no amount of proving to him the benefits of having a smartphone is going to change his mind.
This attitude also can be applied to clients. It’s important to meet clients where they’re at and not try to force a solution. If a client wants to do an ILT instead of an e-learning or isn’t interested in performance support or mobile, then so be it. Although I know my counsel may be appreciated, they want what they want, and there’s no reason to beat the recommendation into the ground.
Give Elliott’s article a read and let me know what you think. Have your attitudes changed regarding how you consult with clients? Are your learning solutions meeting the changing attitudes of learners today?
Thank you, Gayle. I enjoyed your post and Masie’s article very much! Like you, I’ve seen an incredible shift in the past two decades as learners now have so many interesting options for learning available to them. As you said, “it’s important to meet clients where they’re at and not try to force a solution.” What a great reminder!