Don’t Be an L&D Mean Girl

I read a great article recently talking about the importance of research and how to use research to our advantage. After reading the article, a look at the comments was surprising – of course we all know the comments section is where all civility goes to die, no matter the platform. People were being condescending toward others who don’t necessarily share their beliefs.

No surprise, learner experience is what’s important to me, but I understand it’s not important to everyone. There is a lot more out there – design thinking, persona, journey mapping. These topics and platforms are all helpful tools to go in your toolbox, but they don’t replace good performance consulting, learning design, learning analytics, or data. These things don’t stand on their own. It’s important to learn about other methods and approaches, but none of them are enough. Also, this isn’t a zero-sum game.

We must be a big enough tent in L&D to welcome other people and their ideas and objectives. We can’t be “mean girls” to each other just because we don’t agree with someone else’s ideas or the way others approach an issue. It’s important to challenge the ideas of others, but don’t make it personal. Don’t be condescending to others, we must be respectful. Assume positive intent in others and don’t work back from the belief that they’re just trying to sell their product to make more money. They believe in their approach and all they want is to help with learning.

At the end of the day, we all have the same goal – we want to help make others better, while at the same time, making more money for our company. It’s okay to be critical of ideas and debate them, but don’t be condescending to the people who have those ideas. Think of it as an opportunity to learn and a way to approach a topic in a different way than maybe you have in the past.

If you don’t believe that user experience or design thinking has a place in learning, that’s fine – don’t burn all our energy building a following by being critical of others. Say it once and move on.

It’s important not to succumb to the division that we see in politics today and in many other areas of our life. Our job is to make the people that we support better. The tent is big enough for all our ideas.

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