This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

CLLC: Jon Powell and Susan Guest

From last week's CLLC. One more to go after this.

Jon Powell, CKO, and Susan Guest, Learning Delivery & Distributed Learning Leader, both of Hewitt Associates spoke on their experience in working together in The Learning & KM Partnership: A Performance-centered Approach. As with all the afternoon sessions, this was a more casual and interactive session. People broke into the discussion to ask questions and follow trains of thought off the PowerPoint tracks. Powell and Guest were also supported by a number of colleagues in the audience who could provide more context.

The focus of the talk is how Powell and Guest have brought together the worlds of knowledge management and learning in their organization. They see very strong connections within these worlds, and decided that working together makes much more sense than working apart. Like many organizations, Hewitt is looking to move away from the traditional instructor-led training to more distributed learner-led personal development. One big component of changing to that mode of operation is coalescing the wide variety of content sources so that the learner doesn't get lost in a maze of technologies and databases on their way to figuring out how to do their job.

Powell and Guest presented a familiar-looking drawing with the performer in the center with access to instructors, outside schools and networks, internal content, internal experts, learning communities, e-learning, etc. On top of this, they talked about the importance of the internal "tools" all making use of the same infrastructure and the same content wherever possible. The goal is not so much to describe a technical infrastructure as to describe an infrastructure by which they help the performer grow and develop. Powell made the interesting observation that the performer-centric model "looks" more complicated than does the trainer-centric model. All the infrastructure is hidden behind the trainer in the trainer model, rather than being more exposed in the performer model. This has the effect of forcing Powell and Guest to be careful about how they present this material internally.

This focus on the performer (knowledge worker) shifts the conversation about what the corporation does with its people. Guest suggested that this model works much better when the organizational focus is on developing a talent pool that serves the company. In her opinion, this takes the conversation beyond the idea of competency models.

Toward the end of the discussion, they presented a slide based on research that students at Northwestern University have done for a class that Jon Powell teaches (Berger, Dvorak & Merrell @ Northwestern, 2004). The idea was to map people�s expertise levels to their needs with respect to context, content, and culture. It is a work in progress, but the concept seems to be moving in the right direction. Take more consideration of people and what their needs are (and will be) as the operate within your environment. Each company's ideal arrangement will be a different mix of novices, experts and masters. But taking these groups into consideration as the learning and knowledge systems are developed are critical to success in the long-run.

Anyone else for CSCW?

When your goals are different than your leader's