What Responsibility Do We Learning Professionals Have To Each Other?

A popular phrase is “It Takes a Village.” We, in the broad profession of Learning/ Training/ Knowledge Management are in a Professional Community. Where the actions and statements of one sometimes impact all others – sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad  – of all.

The Internet enables us to help and hinder each other – in our own professional development. My question is: what responsibility do we Learning Professionals have to each other? None, some or a lot? Are we our Sisters’ and Brothers’ Keepers?

I have a poll on this web site here– about “what to do – when you see myths repeated – inadvertently or deliberately – often it is very hard to tell for sure even though you might have your suspicions.

Please lend your voice to: what to do about this?

I Follow the Lead of Those Whom I Follow

I take my lead from those I follow – not follow just online – but those I have been following and learning from since 1979 in Professional Affinity Groups/ Professional Societies, etc. Many have been my mentors – and knew that. Many don’t know that I have learned from them.

I learned not just facts. Not just methods and processes and tools. But behaviors.

When they would stand up in a Presentation at a Conference – and ask the speaker – sometimes interrupting that speaker if their arm raising didn’t elicit the opportunity to ask a question – or challenge a statement – they were helping me. Helping me avoid learning fictions instead of facts.

Often they would as: “where is your data” – and that was often followed by “and data is plural.”

That was always my signal to pay closer attention to what was just beginning to transpire – and to do some follow-up about this.

I for one have always treasured that. I have valued that.

And – wanting to be like them – to pay if forward as they had done for me/to me – long before that became a popular phrase in the culture – I tend to do likewise.

I learned that Designing Training for Learning Style preferences was bogus way back into the mid-to-late 1980s. I have cringed since then every time I heard that concept promoted/repeated. I have cringed a lot. Even today. That’s why I wrote this last month:

Why Is the Research on Learning Styles Still Being Dismissed?

One from My Community of Practice – who is but one of many who model this behavior in my Professional Circles – is Will Thalheimer. I first saw/ heard and met Will at ISPI – my professional home. THE place where Myths get challenged – and as they say “it’s a tough crowd.”

Which is a good thing IMO.

Will has a list of 140 Myths on his web site that he posted in January 2009 – here.

Will also asks in that post:

What Do We Do?

Indeed – what do we do?

What is at stake? What’s the net positives or negatives from taking action – and pointing out/ calling out these myths?

What – if anything do we owe our professional communities when we see something not right?

It’s a big topic in the news today – in college sports – a much more serious topic there than here for sure – but what do YOU and I do when confronted with something not right?

Will answers this in terms of our responsibilities to our own Business Stakeholders – which some can/could see as quite a narrow – unlike me who see it quite wide and expansive.

I see all of you who read my Blog – and those who do not – as being one of my Business Stakeholders.

You – correcting or repeating these myths that mislead – can eventually impact me directly – and my other  colleagues quite directly – when they are confronted with these Myths – Fictions Parading as Facts – so perhaps I am being selfish and not wanting to have “to go there.” To correct a prospect, client, colleague, neighbor down the street or across the Internet.

What should you do?

I know what I will do.

I will continue in the tradition I was raised in in my Professional Communities – especially the Community at ISPI – the International Society for Performance Improvement.

I will attend and listen to Dr. Richard E. Clark (Dick Clark) in his Keynote Speech at the next conference – the 50th anniversary conference BTW – in Toronto…

Saturday, April 21
Back to our Future: Evidence-Based Practice for ISPI
Dick Clark, EdD, Director, Center for Cognitive Technology, University of Southern California 

My passport is ready. My registration completed.

I am ready to go and learn and share – and share in the learnings from others.

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP). Where the wheat gets sorted from the chaff and Fact from Fiction.

It’s what the Society has been mostly about – since I joined in 1979. Mostly because nothing is perfect.

And when I fail at this – if/when I present/write about Fiction as Fact – I would hope that you would correct me and point out what’s not true and why. For my Social Learning.

Because…

It takes a village. It takes a Community of Practice.

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