Having just returned from a business trip to the west coast, I am warmed by the unusually pleasant mid-western April weather. Though I love northern California (having lived there for over 25 years) and a part of my heart will always be in San Francisco, the joy of spring bursting forth in its colorful and unpredictable way, can only really be appreciated in the colder climes. That is often the case with learning as well. Sometimes, it is the surprise of it that makes it most valuable and most memorable. And, it is also amazing that learning moments occur in so many ways by so many different methods.Certainly, I made use of a variety of online vehicles for that learning and information sharing in preparation for the trip: researched and bought airline tickets online, got the best hotel deal through priceline.com, scheduled my meetings and social outings through Outlook and Facebook, bought print pubs, San Francisco and 7X7, read the SF Chronicle on my Kindle enroute. Then, a flurry of texts upon arrival using my Blackberry, checking voice and emails, confirming meetings, restaurant locations. Ahhhh.
No, I wasn’t learning in a traditional way or with traditional content but each engagement taught me something or provided some information that I needed. In that moment, just-in-time, at my demand. All of these tools and resources made my trip much easier.So what’s my point? Learning happens everywhere, all of the time. Having access to the correct tools and resources enables us to become active, life-long learners. In a corporate setting it may be using a SCORM LMS to manage training and events. It may be using an online learning solution with custom content creation to create exceptional, specific content for communication skills training. It may be using your training platform to enable your sales team to sell more and develop better client relationships. Or it may be providing your team with appropriate collaborative tools so they can share in nearly real-time what their experiences are teaching them.
And, oh, yes, I don’t want to forget what my clients and friends taught me through our live conversations: the changes within their corporate structure, their frustrations, challenges and successes , the hottest new restaurants in SF, the new, best place for coffee, where the great clothing sales are.Well, you get the picture. Learning opportunities are everywhere. Our big challenge is harnessing this powerful new, multi-dimensional world so that we are not overwhelmed with information. We all want those learning moments to be as enjoyable as having a glass of wine with a good friend at the Ferry Plaza on a sunny San Francisco day.