As a learning professional, I very much enjoy encountering non-learning resources that spark a thought or idea related to the Learning Profession. Earlier today I posted a quote on Twitter from a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip I had read, shown below:
The quote I included in my tweet was from Hobbes in the last panel: “Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?”
This strip echoes the challenge that learning professionals have been dealing with for years: What is the value, or more specifically, business value, or learning? That’s a very difficult question to answer, as what defines ‘value’ is often based on the perspective of the stakeholders. It is further complicated by the fact that the stakeholders group includes not only those providing resources (commonly referred to as ‘paying’) for the learning, but also, as demonstrated in the strip, the learners themselves. As learning professionals, we sometimes find ourselves trapped in a debate of the benefits of learning. Sometimes the best answer to a question isn’t an answer at all; it’s asking a better question.
For me, that’s the message of this comic strip. Often the question isn’t as simple as “What’s the business value of a learning and performance program?” Sometimes, a better way to get to the answer is by asking “What’s the business risk of NOT conducting a learning and performance program?”
On a related note, @simbeckhampson pointed out the duality of the relevance of the comic strip I referenced. Not only is it relevant to the learning profession, but today is actually also the 25th anniversary of first Calvin and Hobbes strip.
So let me close by saying “Happy Birthday Calvin & Hobbes! I look forward to your wit and wisdom (courtesy of Bill Watterson) inspiring my learning for many more years to come.”