Welcome to the Grist

The Grist is your desk top reference of terminology run through the corporate learning and development mill.


Attend a meeting and it shows up in front of you as a document. No one wants it yet someone else wants you to take it or make it. Try and share it and your met with a blank stare. Curriculum, the least understood topic in all of corporate learning. Let’s set this one in concrete so you know what your getting yourself into when the word comes up. Straight from the horses mouth, Journal of Education and Practice (or any reputable journal for that matter)

“… is not a concrete reality but an ideal…. Curriculum in its entirety has a philosophical, historical, psychological and social foundation….the term curriculum itself is a concept describing very complex ideas. In learning, there are principles such as educational philosophy, curriculum goals and learning objectives which are applied in developing school programs, colleges, training centers and universities. This field has its own body of knowledge and skills e.g. in the selection of content making it rely on the principles knowledge and skills from psychology, philosophy and sociology…Philosophy probably has more influence on curriculum access and development in that it provides educationists, teachers and curriculum makers with framework for planning implementation and evaluating curriculum in school. It also helps in answering what schools are for what subjects are important, how students should learn and what materials and methods should be used. Philosophy provides the starting point and heuristic dynamism in decision making about education in its totality.

Philosophy as a Key Instrument in Establishing Curriculum, Educational Policy, Objectives, Goals of Education, Vision and Mission of Education. Journal of Education and Practice http://www.iiste.org ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper) ISSN 2222-288X (Online) Vol.4, No.11, 2013

Curriculum defines how you will think and the topics you will think about. It’s no wonder many call curriculum social engineering. Think about that for a moment. That competency map put in front of you at the meeting? It defines someone’s learning beliefs. Your meeting host has pre-determined how you will think. In order to see the power of curriculum at work one only needs to look at the human resources industry. First they called themselves learning and development then talent development and now their focus is culture. The C-suite has no idea about the new guest they just let in the door.

Toolbox – Educational tools a trainer needs to do his/her job including curriculum, instructional methodology and instructional resources. If you’re an operational CEO and want to know the status of a team, consult the trainer. A trainer with a well-defined toolbox will be able to provide you with all the information you need, in real-time. This is a great exercise when you want to compare the performance of your trainer against HR and all the bells and whistles it calls training. In the end what really matters?

Content – An insidious name used by a third-party software company to support the administration of learning management systems and learning content management systems. A trainer thinking like an educator incorporates instructional resources. A system merely deploys content.

Learning Management System aka LMS – Third party software and post-mortem data base. Would have you believe there is no separation between data and training. Value lies in its imitable style. The least educated can copy and paste to great effect. Created for school teachers co-opted by the software industry and sold to corporations. LMS is the answer to a question no one asked. A stone tool HR found as it transitioned from its administrative role to strategic planning. Data sets don’t spark insight about training or trainees. Based on analytics and statistics, not on emotions and relationships that drive training in schools or corporations. The LMS reports outputs and outcomes, not the impacts of learning on the lives and minds of learners.  The idea a data base can be the purveyor of knowledge is beyond archaic. It reeks of a one room school-house where everyone is sitting in rows and doing the exact same thing at the same time using rote learning. More data doesn’t make you more trained anymore than a big wedding makes you more married.

Training Specialist – Can decipher a training system like an archeologist does a dig. Is a student of the education discipline and prefaces work by asking the question, “We are here to do what is best for the trainees”. Once you start from that point, it is now your job to prove why and what you are asking for is in the best interest of trainee. Can see around corners and is capable of proving a point like a lawyer.

SME – Coined by software companies to identify individuals in the corporate organization chart who will be disintermediated from operational teams for the benefit of ERP tools i.e., the LMS and LCMS. Shifts resources from operational teams to human resources. Works under the mind meld assumption that information can be sucked out of persons head like maple sap from a tree.

Corporate Learning & Development Department – Managed by the human resources industry. Controls the politics of curriculum using echo chamber analysis. If I hear someone else doing it, it must be right. To give solutions more value they are relabeled as best practices and deployed by business partners who in reality are sales agents. The HR industries greatest achievement came in the rapid rise and control over the C-suite and it’s latest push for the chief learning officer. The corporate organizational chart includes knowledge managers pushing an intellectual mono culture and universal one size fits all learning myth called adult learning. When education management grew into it’s own discipline and separated from business management decades ago a void was left. The vacancy created a gold rush resulting in a multi billion dollar HR industry. It’s the last great untamed corporate frontier allowed to run amuck within the boundaries of common sense.

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