Lenses for 20/20 Vision

December 30, 2020

When people say they have 20/20 vision, I ask them what does 20/20 mean?

7/10 times I get shrugs or incorrect definitions. Try it.

Here's a quick definition. A person with 20/20 vision can see what an individual with perfect vision can see when they are standing 20 feet away.

My intention today is not to educate you on vision health but, to raise a question to the learning leaders on the health of their vision in 2020.

Vision Exam

As a learning leader, do you see and experience what your learners do standing 20ft away?

In other words, how intimately familiar are you with your learners' job definition, her job KPIs/objectives, her workflows, her challenges, etc. Do you know what may be the key questions she is struggling to get answers for (e.g. what to do, when, how, who can help, etc.)?

Have you watched her work and struggle from 20ft away? Or did you just have someone interview your learners by phone 2000 miles away, if at all?

Lenses for clearer vision

The closer you get, the clearer you can see, and the better is your learning experience design that truly meets the learners' needs.

So, what do learners truly need when in the flow of work?

Let's say your phone is not charging and you are desperate. You take it your mobile service provider's store and the customer care representative quickly fetches a manual and hands it to you. Would you be happy? Would you feel cared for? You may be fuming and threatening to unsubscribe. Why? She gave you the information, maybe more than you needed.

This is what traditional learning offers. Handbooks, manuals, courses, and more recently long videos, interactive gamified solutions. These leave learners frustrated, feeling desperate, uncared for when in the flow of work, while you feel you have given more than what they requested.

Just like you may have wanted the customer rep to guide you on what to do, how to do, and maybe do it for you, your learners want the same.

As learning professionals, we all need to get our vision test done to see if our vision is outdated or geared for the next-gen learners and get a new pair of lenses.

The Frame: Holding it together

Great food for thought. How do we implement it? We have thousands of documents and assets that get updated every day. Is it possible to closely watch every employee, capture their everyday questions, and refactor all content to respond to questions? The operational and technical challenge seems to be too much to attempt it. Well, the good news is that we now have the technology to make all this possible.

With enterprises adopting chat engines like MS Teams, Slack, etc. for org-wide communication and workflows, it allows us the unprecedented advantage to capture what users are working on, questions they are asking, and what questions remain unanswered. This immediately allows the proximity learning leaders need to test their vision at 20 ft.

Content to conversation engines are now able to chunk, sequence, layer, and tag large documents in multiple formats to create engaging conversations as well as provide specific responses to user questions. User and Conversation context engines can create a deeper understanding of the users and their context, personalizing the user experience so that the learners can truly feel cared for.

Looking smart with glasses

It is time we leverage smart technologies to build smarter learning solutions before we get outsmarted.