2012 = The Year of Authentic Learning

As 2011 closes and we gear up for another 12 month run of learning, what will be the focus for learning professionals? In my opinion, 2012 will be all about Authentic Learning. This blog spot outlines the what and why of Authentic Learning. Let’s start with…


Question: Why is Authentic Learning so important?

Answer: Because of the increased demand for value-for-money and a low bullshit-threshold

  1. In Belgium, people are talking about part 2 of the economic crisis. We finally have a government and this means tightening money-belts. Other countries may not have had the same political issues, but the financial issues are much the same. The impact for business will be the increasing demand for value for money. Return on Investment is a given. No ROI, no contract. In 2012, clients will just want more.
  2. Our current Gen-Y culture is infecting people of all ages with some very cool values like freedom, autonomy and choice. These new drivers are seriously lowering what I call the bullshit-threshold and this will have an impact on learning initiatives as well.


Question: What is Authentic Learning all about?

Answer: Effective, pragmatic and true learning opportunities

  1. Effective learning does what it promises. This means that learning professionals cannot stop at creating competence. They need to create results. For example, training designed to help new leaders motivate their teams doesn’t just deliver knowledge, skills and attitude –> it creates motivation!
  2. Pragmatic learning is to-the-point lean learning. This means that learning initiatives must deliver the minimum effective dose (MED) of whatever stuff is required to get those effective learning results. In my opinion, MED is the guiding effectiveness principle of the 21st century. If I need X, don’t give me Y. And if X is enough, don’t give me 2X !!
  3. True learning is aligned to the business environment, values and learning participants. The one-size-fits-all attitude to learning is no longer acceptable. Organisations and people have always been different and learning professionals have known this for a long time. But are they really using this to make learning true? The granularity principle in learning will mean that people must be able to get what they need when they need it in the way they like it.


In my own case, here is how I will be focusing on Authentic Learning in 2012:

  • Step 1 = Agree simple honest performance objectives with no-bullshit measurements of success
  • Step 2 = If people give me a day of their time for training, make sure they get something in the room that they can’t get out of the room
  • Step 3 = Treat every learning moment as a first-time experience, dropping all ego and assumptions in order to choose what is right for the business, values and people at that time


I would love to have your comments 🙂

Good luck in 2012,

See you there!



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Visit www.infinitelearning.be


Published by Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

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  1. I am still struggling with the following thought: ‘As a trainer/consultant you have a commitment regarding effort, not regarding outcome.’

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