In Part 1 of this series, we discussed my observation that leadership development has been slower to adopt blended learning solutions than other fields, and that in some instances this is because many aspects of leadership development do not fit the best uses of e-learning technology.
However, in addition to the valid reasons, there are also several common excuses and myths that prevent a wider adoption of blended learning for leadership development. Here are three of them:
- “I’m a high touch person, not a high tech person.” A lot of leadership development means the realization that we need to adapt our behavior to the situation, regardless of our personal traits or preferences. It’s the same with the “e”-stuff. I remember an instance when I got a new manager, I couldn’t find him in our corporate social network. It was as if he didn’t exist. Similar to the phrase “when a tree falls in the forest” I’d like to suggest that if a person does not have a profile on the Internet, or you can’t Google them, they probably don’t exist. (And I’m not even a millennial.) I also remember the first post of a colleague on our company Yammer network: “So this is where you all have been hiding…”. Ask yourself this as a leader: are you part of the conversation? Are you there where your people are? Because if they are online and you’re not…
- “Leadership is a contact sport, we need to see each other in the eye.” This is absolutely right, but not exclusively. Virtual contact is contact too. And there’s more of the latter. There is technology out there that allows us “to be there when we’re not.” Face to face might be the most powerful variant of human contact, but it is not the only one, and not the only effective one. There is a lot we can learn from each other through social media, virtual events, mobile apps, etc. Using this social technology wisely will expand the number of people you “touch” and vice-versa.
- “E-learning is boring and doesn’t work.” A few years ago I was discussing the “brand image” of e-learning with a marketing expert. According to her the image was roughly along the lines of “I will be forced to watch boring page-turners, all on my own without access to experts, on my own time, and later be held accountable for knowing it.” That’s not a very engaging message indeed. And the e-learning industry is guilty of making its share of such learning, especially around the turn of the century. But we are in 2013 already. Good blended learning now offers a richness of possible learning formats, uses a lot of interaction and video, is about connecting people as much as presenting content, and making the learning experience personal and applicable via job aids.
What are some other excuses/myths that you have heard that hold people back from taking full advantage of technological tools?