Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Having grown up in the Pittsburgh area during the Steelers first run at four Super Bowls, I am a born and breed Steeler's fan. Loved seeing the team get number six!
So why are the Steelers so successful and what can Learning and Development professionals learn from the Steelers.
First, one of the things that Ben Roethlisberger said to his team in the final minutes of the game when he walked on the field and got into the huddle hoping to to march down the field was "...it’s now or never, I told the guys all the film study you put in doesn’t matter unless you do it now.
The lesson is that all the training and practice and studying doesn't really matter unless you can deliver. We Learning and Development professionals need to put much more emphasis on job performance than on having exciting e-learning or fun activities in the classroom. In the final analysis, it is performance that matters, nothing else. Instruction means nothing if the learners can't perform.
Second, when asked “What was the call on the last play of the game?” Roethlisberger responded half-jokingly. “Drop back. Scramble right. Scramble left. Find someone open.”
The lesson is that Learning and Development Professionals have limits in what we can do. We can design the material as effectively as possible, we can cross all the t's and dot the i's but in the end, it comes down to the learner's willingness to apply the learning to their situation. Their willingness to perform and, at time, their ability to improvisationally apply the lessons learned to the situation.
At some point, the learner is responsible for his or her own learning. We can't train every possible contingency, we can't train for everything, in the end the learners need to want to learn and apply their knowledge to their situation. We can only take so much credit...or blame. The rest has to go the learner who needs to figure out how to apply what we provide to them to their unique situations. Just like Ben.
Third, the Steeler Franchise is successful and consistent. The team has been around for thirty years and only had three head coaches. But have won six Super Bowl. When other, less successful franchises are switching coaches every two or three years.
The lesson, consistent focus provides success. Often learning professionals jump on the latest fad without keeping the underlying fundamentals of good instructional strategies and effective instructional design. Focusing on a consistent application of instructional design methods provides success. The technology may change but the strategies for providing learning opportunities have not changed. We must always apply the right instructional strategies no matter the available technology. If you do instructional design correctly, the learning will be consistent and successful.
So, there is a quick look at what the Steelers can teach instructional designers from a fan of both. What other lessons do you think the Steelers can teach instructional designers?
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