Not EVERY Learning Experience HAS TO BE Performance-Based

I know. I know.

Most of my writing would seem to go against THAT grain … of thought … like fingernails scraping a chalkboard. But I know that I have at times expressed THAT sentiment in writings and in videos and audios. But perhaps – not enough.

My epiphany on this began in 1981 when I was a Training Project Supervisor at Motorola’s Training & Education Center (MTEC).

I had already drunk the Kool-Aid (so to speak) of The Cult of Performance – a play on Gilbert’s Cult of Behavior – from my time at Wickes Lumber (1979-1981) where we focused on our adapted approaches sourced from Rummler, Gilbert, Mager, and Harless – but I was confronted with the MTEC name itself (& Education) and my internal client’s exploration of, and request for, education vs training.

Their topic – Computers on the Factory Floor.

This being 1981 – THAT was a new thing coming down the pike, cresting the horizon, and would soon be upon us.

My clients were the 30-some Manufacturing Operations Managers (MOMs) who ran the show in that part of the process-set across Motorola’s 5 Business Sectors (SBUs).

And although I see it – Education in an Enterprise vs Training – as needing to be in “the minority” of time, attention, and investments – there is a time and place for non-Performance-Based Instruction, Training, Learning, or Learning Experiences – take your pick of names/labels. I myself have been dealing with the shifting language for 42 years now. Tag – you’re it.

The MOMs, my clients, wanted content (they called it training which was what caused my initial confusion – plus my adamancy as a full-fledged member of The Cult of Performance) on Computers on the Factory Floor – as my dialogue with them – which I’m sure was somewhat frustrating for them, but they generally liked me so they cut me some slack – eventually uncovered and led to their real need and vision.

Which is that they wanted the people on the Factory Floors to start to imagine Computers on the Factory Floor – as a way to get their minds on it BEFORE it happened – and to think about HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM ONCE THEY ARRIVED.

That was one of the reasons they had me watch and report back on 40 hours of Ollie White video on MRP – Material Requirements Planning – which I believe had already or was about to morph into MRP II – Manufacturing Requirements Planning – which would logically lead to ERP – Enterprise Requirements Planning. MRP was coming and they wanted to know who and how much of those talking head videos were worth signing their people up to watch.

I cannot recall 40 years later if I told them how many times I fell asleep watching them. 40 hours of video over the course of 2 or 3 weeks. YAWN!

  • A lesson I learned that I will share with you is, be careful what you do right after lunch.
  • And to share another lesson that I learned from Geary Rummler at the time, encourage your classroom students to never leave open their 3-ring binder’s “rings” or to push them far enough away so that they wouldn’t impale themselves, should they nod out.

Sometimes Learning is to Help Envision & Create the Future

And not always to train people in exactly what and how to perform.

That is all.

Carry on.


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