The Accidental Learner

By John Breakey, CEO Fivel

LearningIconEver notice how we’re interacting with more and more technology in our business and personal daily activity? In fact we touch about 10 tech tools in a typical workday. Some examples would include our smartphone, PC, Outlook, video conferencing, Excel, Google, photocopier, and our desktop phone.

We are creatures of habit when adopting new tools, software or feature upgrades. We receive a new tool – a Blackberry, for instance – and spend time mastering previous features (phone contact list, outlook integration, internet access) just like on the old device. Being pressed for time we defer learning newer, useful features until “later.” See yourself in this picture yet?

Employee training falls short for us:

  • Overwhelmed by new features, We don’t retain what is taught
  • Training is inconvenient, too long, or cuts into our work schedule
  • Pressing tasks distract us before we commit the new features to memory
  • Subsequently, our retention is low and we delay – until “obligated” – to use the newer, more convenient features.

This is when accidental learning begins. We have all experienced it: You’re working with a colleague whose split screen view of Outlook you have never seen before and appreciate. “How convenient!” you think. It is at this moment that you realize you have been needlessly frustrated for 7 months. Your colleague offers a short lesson on how you can set up your own system and now becomes your new best friend!

Failed technology adoption is a major factor in why technologies don’t live up to expectations.

Final thought: It is the adoption of technology that produces productivity, not the technology itself.

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