The 10 Lenses to Overcome Blind Spots and See Opportunities in Organizational Learning


Lenses are contexts to look at existing processes and become aware of “blind spots.” Many a training pundit have come to high regard based on their surfacing of new lenses. “What if we look at social media?” Or, “what if we consider baby boomers differently than Millennials?” Or "what are the implications if there are different learning styles?" Or, “what if we train customers using eLearning as well as employees?”

Ten Lenses

Given that, we are currently at a time in the Learning Industries when there are perhaps 10 useful lenses. We have to move back and forth between them to properly prioritize opportunities.

The ten lenses are:

1. Ages of End Users

Such as: Millennials; Gen Xers; and Baby Boomers.

Are you teaching the youngest employees and the oldest employees in the same way? Really?

2. The Flow of Skills

This occurs between: practitioners; experts; and occasionally instructors and students.

Are you focusing too much on enabling instructor-to-student, and missing the huge opportunity of peer-to-peer or expert-to-practitioner?

See overview article here and follow up here. This can also be around a specific project as it progresses from pilot to commodity, see diagram.

3. Types of Learning

The three primarily types are Learning to Know (new facts); Learning to Do (new abilities); and Learning to Be (new views of themselves and their relationships with others).

Are you using "learning to know" approaches when you want "learning to do" results?

See entry here.

4. Moments of Learning

When does the need for and fulfillment of learning occur: Learning before use; Learning while using for the first time; Learning to use new features; Learning when things go wrong; and Leaning new versions based on old?

Are you supporting learners at the point of application of learning?

5. Time in an Employee's Lifecycle

These can include New Employee; New job; New Manager; High Potential; and Senior Executive.

Are you missing entire segments of employees?

6. By Function

Such as: Training; Help Desk; Documentation; and Marketing (and then by country and product line).

Are stovepipes adding costs and hindering messaging?

7. By Audience Role

Such as: Employees; Channels; and Customers

Are best practices and content going where they are needed? Is the organization set up to best meet the needs of each?

8. By Organizational Priority

Such as: Short Term Critical; Medium Term Strategic; Legal Necessity; and Legacy

What does you organization need right now? What will it need in one year, and can you start now to meet that need?

9. By Message to User

Such as: Low cost/don't worry about it; High cost/this is critical.

What does it say to your employees when ethics training is bought off-the-shelf and deployed as cheaply as possible?

See entry here.

10. By Approach, including New and Traditional

New approaches includes: Social Media I (including blogging, Twittering, and podcasts), Social Media II (including Facebook style interactions); Mobile; and Sims and Games.

Traditional approaches include: Classroom; Online Workbooks; and Live Synchronous Virtual Class.

Do you even have the skills to use the right approaches, if they make perfect sense?

See new approaches against flow of skills here. For a look back ten years, see the Pensare vision.

Every new lens sheds light on missing processes. And one of the greatest values of a new lens is creating awareness that many people in the room may be seeing the same thing very differently.

We can risk both lens fatigue and spending too much time appreciating each new model. Having said that, both understanding the models that people bring to the table and the opportunities available are essential to meet the organization's needs.

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