JD Dillon, a long-time speaker at Learning Guild events, columnist, and writer whose work was featured in Learning Solutions Magazine for many years (“In Real Life” and “What I Learned”, and many individual articles) has released his first book.
The goal of The Modern Learning Ecosystem: A New L&D Mindset For the Ever-changing Workplace is, JD Dillon says, to help readers think differently about the role of learning in the workplace and to apply proven practices to help people do their jobs better every day. He touches on many topics that he has covered over the 20 years of his L&D career, and he supports them with the stories that have always been at the heart of what he has delivered in print and in person. The result is an L&D methodology and an excellent read well worth your time—whether you are new to L&D or an experienced professional.
Mainly the book relates the story of what JD learned through (or in spite of) frequent disruption of his work and career, an experience common to many in learning and development. Struggling with change, particularly in the last 15 years, shifted JD’s mindset and helped him identify a learning and performance ecosystem that’s ready for anything. These are the secrets of his success, and they can be the secrets of your success as well.
Rather than suggest throwing out what may seem by now like old models for L&D (70-20-10, Continuous Learning, the 5 Moments of Need), JD is focused on the context and fundamentals of how people learn. As many other experts have pointed out, the fundamentals are all we have to work with, and those three models are the best ones to hang on to in L&D. Most of JD’s book is focused on the philosophy of using what you have. As he advises, find new ways to connect the old dots and overcome the pace of change that work throws at L&D today. In this way, through experimentation, sharing through conversation, and keeping what works, JD developed his framework for addressing workplace learning and performance challenges.
Where does the framework start? Where fundamentals should start—with the basics. What is the purpose of L&D? And what are the principles (six of them) that L&D teams must apply in order to survive during this time of change? Those are the first two chapters of the book. The next chapters explain the Modern Learning Ecosystem, and conclude by covering what it will take to shift your perspective and approach to workplace learning.
Peeling away the layers of the Modern Learning Ecosystem Framework, the book shows you how to build the fundamentals that you already know into a scalable system to deliver shared knowledge. Along the way, the examples from JD’s experience illuminate the process he went through as he discovered the elements of the Modern Learning Ecosystem. Those elements will probably have a familiar ring to them, at least some of them depending on your own journey, but it is the way that JD puts them together that begins to provide the value.
That is the next five chapters of the book, in which JD shares his successes and his failures, and what he learned from colleagues and from efforts in other organizations. The last six chapters are all about applying the Modern Learning Ecosystem—not in layers of structured training but in a variety of ways to solve the range of learning and performance challenges. This is the fulfillment of the value the book provides.
The Modern Learning Ecosystem: A New L&D Mindset For the Ever-changing Workplace will take you through all this much more quickly than you could do it by looking up all of JD’s articles and presentations, and more compactly. I recommend the book without reservation—do yourself and your learners a great favor and add this book to your library and its lessons to your practice!