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Talking at the Gym

Normally, I balk at having conversations in the gym. Definitely, while doing anything that smacks of cardio. In part, because I really love the few minutes of uninterrupted TV time I get. But mostly, it’s because I’ve never been especially adept at talking and running (at least not without sounding like my lungs are seconds from bursting from my chest). However, today I had a delightful impromptu conversation with a member. A chat that began before I actually got on the equipment and (frankly) I’m glad it did.


Well, I'll spare you the entirety of the conversation, but suffice to say, the most salient takeaway was never stop learning.

I couldn’t agree more.

I worry that too many people do, however, stop learning. I worry that it’s easy to hit a place of intellectual, athletic, political, and/or socio-cultural…. comfort. A quick wave of the hand, suggesting that (you) are beyond learning now – at least, beyond, learning something new.

Personally, I’ve learned many new things over the last number of years. More recently, I learned the ‘art’ of skiing. A sport I picked up at age 40. Yeesch. I’m told now (by my family) that I am ‘high-functioning-intermediate’. I’ve certainly been afforded more complimentary skill assessments in my day, but I’ll take it, I am after all, still learning.

I’ve watched friends and family maintain a passion for ongoing learning as well; in areas as divergent as: second careers, athletic achievements, volunteerism and musical pursuits. It keeps you engaged, even if a little scared at times.

So, what of Corporate Training?

Isn’t life-long learning at the epicenter of our industry? Not always. I worry that all too often, as industry professionals we prefer to do what is safe and easily understood. We like the sort of learning that fits neatly into the professional skill ‘box’ that got us this far in our careers. I get that. I often do too.

Sadly, safe becomes ‘stagnant’ and much faster than we all might like. Trust me. In my case, I have the privilege of managing a business, many of whose core capabilities, I cannot deliver on my own. Not always being the expert in your own business – now that’s scary.

Sure, I can build curriculum and I can lead a training session. However, I cannot program an eLearning course, create custom applications, edit a video, or create Virtual Reality – all of which we provide our clients. But that’s what makes learning fun. I and my colleagues continue to evolve our skillsets to ensure that we offer learners, new and exciting experiences. That means life-long-learning. Frankly, a lot of what we produce now for our clients, feels like a scaled down advertising campaign, gaming experience or Hollywood production. A world away from PowerPoint decks and training activities.

A world where the learner is ‘in charge’.

But we’ve been here for a long time, haven’t we? The minute we put our collective knowledge into hand-held devices, we changed learning forever and that’s ok. Learning is supposed to fun, challenging, innovative and… new.

Even if it can be a little scary.

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