Written by:

Holly Macdonald


February 11, 2011

During the early #lrnchat today on wiping the slate clean, Q5 asked: “What are some things you can do to work toward that dream state?”

I answered “don’t be a victim, be a learning activist”.

What is an activist:  According to WikiAnswers…

“An activist is a person who works toward social change. They work to change the way that society functions with regard to some social problem. Activism goes much deeper than educating others about a subject though that is a form of activism. Other forms of activism include protests, boycotts, writing letters and organizing rallies around a particular issue or set of issues.”

Many of the “not sitting at the table” comments are examples of victim thinking.  It is easy to get beaten down, but it doesn’t help when we beat ourselves up as well.  We may not create learning revolutions, but we need to be actively involved in being the change that we want to see.

When you hear yourself saying “I can’t…” or “They won’t let us…”, stop yourself and remember that you can be actively involved in making change.  If you are committed to a cause, you won’t let setbacks get you down.

When your business case for a program is rejected by an executive committee or the CFO snorts at your proposal, don’t give up.

How would you be a learning activist?

  • Protests – while we may not organize a march or a physical demonstration, there is still “protesting” that we can do.  Being vocal on twitter is one way.  Hosting a salon with local professionals to discuss the issue might be another way.
  • Boycotts – don’t buy particular solutions if you are in a position to do that within your organization.  If you feel that classroom training is dragging down the organization, select a period of time where you purchase no classroom training or conduct no classroom/formal training.  Issue a “press release” within your organization that explains your decision.  Don’t just cite learning statistics, remind them that your job is to manage the learning investment and you are doing your due diligence.
  • Writing letters – or blog posts.  Or articles.  Recently @dpontefract wrote in CLO magazine about his feelings on the Kirkpatrick levels of evaluation.  Bold and risky, but certainly got attention.

The important thing is that in your own way, you fight for your cause.  If it is increasing mobile learning, eliminating the next button or alternatives to ADDIE (drink), be true to your cause.