Learning strategies for adaptive change

As an instructional designer working in an organization focused on patient safety and quality, I hear a lot about “adaptive work.” This is the kind of work that focuses on changing attitudes, values, and beliefs. It’s the kind of work that focuses on changes in culture. While “technical work”—learning about new technologies, procedures, compliance policies, etc., can certainly be complex—adaptive work is  critical if we want to make technical work succeed. You can create all the training, all the performance support tools, and all the informal learning opportunities you like, if you don’t consider the larger organizational ecosystem in which these efforts sit, your learning strategies will be merely band-aids on the challenges you’re trying to  address. I’m not saying that learning and development departments will be the solvers of all organizational problems—it takes an organizational village—but I am writing this post as a reminder to myself, as much as anything else, to frame potential solutions in this challenging context of adaptive work.

In upcoming posts, I’ll share any tips and strategies I come across/work through on developing learning strategies with an eye towards culture change.





2 responses to “Learning strategies for adaptive change

  1. Pingback: Instructional Design Fusions

  2. I agree with your thoughts on “adaptive work.” Living in the New Orleans Metro area, I have seen so many families and young children growing up in urban communities feeling as though this is how things are going to be for the rest of their lives. They have certain attitudes, ways of learning that is not ideal, but yet to them, they believe that what they see is “as good as it gets.” With so many schools being shut down because of low performance or lack of teachers, these kids tend to have no other alternatives than drugs, violence and the streets. I am by far not saying this is a good thing nor am I down playing any of these situations, as I am merely expressing my concerns as well as letting you know that this blog post is truly what happens in my surrounding community. These children are faced with a vast amount of challenges – from the way they wear they clothes to the color of their clothes to where or not they would be caught up in gun violence by merely walking down their home’s sidewalk. These challenges eventually spill over into them not attending school on a regular basis or not being able to read or perform on scholastic tests, because their focus is torn away by other non-important factors. Far too often our city’s officials try to “band-aid” the real situations at hand while the politicians only show their faces when it’s election time and speak of all the changes they are going to make if elected. It is really time for these same elected officials to come up with real solutions!

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