Move fast and break things?

The role of discovery in learning

Lately I've been considering how and why learning is so often seen as a formal activity. I've been working with different teams and people in work and I've been given so many new things to learn in a short space of time. It feels like a bit of a contrast to the planned version of learning that we all face in our day to day jobs, where we go on training next month to learn about a concept we want to apply at some point.

After Facebook had done something terrible again (I forget which one, there have been so many), I came across this really excellent blogpost about the reality of their motto to “Move fast and break things” by Glyph. What I really took from it was the importance of developing work and making learning a part of the day job.

Break A GIF of a crab smashing a laptop

The connection between learning and doing

The discovery of knowledge to understand the right problem to solve feels like a big contrast to how we learn (and aim to improve) in public services, where people undertake training alongside the work. It feels much more aligned with the thinking behind Human Learning Systems. In the software world, this means moving away from Waterfall into Agile project management. In our public service world, it means moving away from learning as if we are in a controlled environment (PRINCE 2 style), into a space where we embrace complexity and emergent learning.

The sense that people access their learning as they need it has informed our approach to our multimedia resources. We've moved away from putting whole recorded webinars online, into cutting them into short, bite-sized clips. We've also used the web text to outline the key learning points of the clips and also added some reflective questions to help people to think about what they want to get out of the resource. We know how under-resourced public services are at the moment – staff don't have time to do do the digging themselves. If we can make it easy for people to access the learning that they need when they need it (as outlined in this post on lean learning), they are much more likely to apply it in their work.

Follow me on