Some people really enjoy having the opportunity to take a professional training. It provides the opportunity to learn more about your profession and you can get to know new people. For a trainer that’s really nice, because training a motivated grous makes his work a lot easier. But sometimes training and education are happening because of changes that people don’t like at all. It gives them the feeling they ‘have to learn something new again’. These trainings cause resistance and annoyance, learners only participate because they have to. And that’s a pity, because this means their talent is not used at it’s best.
About this problem, and his solution, I had a chat with Michiel Louweret, director of Louweret & Partners, a company specialized in learning solutions for change management projects. Such projects can be complex, like a reorganization or fusion, but can also mean a change in mindset like ‘giving employees insight in their positive influence’.
– Michiel Louweret
From trainer to entrepreneur
Michiel gained his first experiences with training at Twynstra Gudde. He thought himself how to train by watching and listening to people in the field he admired. A real auto didact, so to say. After happily working for Twynstra Gudde for a while he got the urge to do things his own way.
“In 2000 I started Louweret. I focused 50% of my time on training and the other 50% on advice.” Says Michiel. “Because I kept busy with change management I often had to deal with learners that were very unmotivated to follow a training. They only had to be there because their manager told them, not because they wanted to themselves. Being a trainer to those learners was hard, that’s why I went looking for solutions to give professionals more responsibility. And when I had an ‘Aha! Moment’ 3 years ago, I found that solution.”
“An Aha! Moment?”
“Yes! I had to train a group which I was struggling to manage for a while. But in the morning I fell off my bike and hurt my knee. I had to go to the hospital for examination, so I couldn’t train the group. It was too late to cancel, so the co-trainer of the client had to take over. She trained several groups alongside with me, but never did it on her own. Not an ideal situation, but the training had to go on, there was no other option. We walked through the training on the phone and I told her she could always call me when she had any questions during the training.
When I was done at the hospital I gave her a call. To my surprise she told me it was the best session for that group since a long time! This got me thinking of course, and I asked her what she did different. She told me she admitted to the group that she didn’t know as much of the content as I did, and asked them to help her out that afternoon. And because the learners got involved this way, the training was an unexpected success! She did add that she felt comfortable enough to do it, because she knew she could always give me a call when needed. So that was also an important aspect.”
The choice for Social Learning
“After this moment I started my search for a new learning model. The main concept I wanted to focus on was ‘learning without a trainer’. I believe in the power of professionals. Nowadays all knowledge you need is available online and professionals have large networks. The challenge for organizations is to make more of the talent and knowledge they have in house. But there is still a lot to be done there.
During my search I stumbled upon social learning. The principles of social learning were described very good in the 70-2-10- model by Charles Jennings. He says professionals learn from each other on the job, not in a training room. That sounded perfect to me.
For the support of this solution I needed an online platform, and it was quite a job to find one. Eventually I encountered aNewSpring and they could offer me all functionalities I wished for.”
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