Last Friday, there was a great #LDInsight twitter chat posing the question “What is L&D?“. If you missed it, all of the conversations can be read here. From a diverse range of professionals came a diverse range of perspectives providing insight into what L&D means to them. That’s what I love about the #LDInsight every Friday morning – it quite naturally creates an inclusive space where good thinking & dialogue happens.
Roll forward a few days and I’m with the family driving through Ireland on holiday and the conversation is about different families and different people. What might be important to them here & now? For example, a short holiday for our family visiting relatives is important to us but for someone in a different country that might not be possible or desirable right now, if ever. A good conversation with the kids to think about others but it’s made me think more about that twitter chat…
If I was a farmer in Ireland just finishing the lambing season, what is learning & development to me?
If I was a professional working in Kiev living in the midst of unrest, what is learning & development to me?
If I was a Xhosa teacher living in South Africa, what is learning & development to me?
My gut instinct is that our situations & experiences create both similarity and differences in describing what we think of as being the same thing – learning & development.
I have a sense of repeating patterns and yet a sense of beautiful complexity. The word fractal comes to mind – utterly natural with a self-similarity and continuity yet there’s no apparently straightforward formula to describe each individual experience. Perhaps as with clouds in the sky – different yet similar and always a cloud.
My reflection is that what I call “Learning & Development” may be both similar and different to what others see as “Learning & Development”. Talking about “it” always has value but trying to define and label “it” too closely may actually not be that useful or productive. Isn’t that often the problem in organisational life, that we try to define & label more closely than we actually need to?
My encouragement is that we see Learning & Development more as a fractal. To be appreciated & enjoyed knowing that the value comes not from definition per se but from the conversation about how we can help ourselves and each other to learn and develop.