Progressive Place

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spiral Learning, for subjects too vital for a training module

This came in an October newsletter from the Masie Center ( Since I can't find it in their website to link you to, I'm just copying the whole thing here.

Spiral Learning: Critical Topics Woven Into the Organization

By Elliott Masie, Chair - The Learning CONSORTIUM

Some topics can’t be contained in a single course or online module. We advocate that there are a few ideal topics for “Spiral Learning”, meaning they should be woven throughout the organization and integrated into a wide range of learning and development activities.
Consider these 4 topics for Spiral Learning in your organization:

  • Cyber Security: Using technology in a manner that is secure and safe for the individual and organization.

  • Safety: Creating a culture of safety throughout the organization, with an eye toward managing risk in every nook of the enterprise.

  • Corporate Sustainability: A business approach that creates long-term consumer and employee value by creating a “green” strategy aimed at the natural as well as social, cultural and economic environments.

  • Virtual Leadership: With distributed teams, our leaders must evolve their leadership modes to extend across time zones and distance while leveraging new models for assisting team members across the globe.

Sure, a learning department could offer classes on Cyber Security, Safety, Sustainability and Virtual Leadership, but the topics are too important and too pervasive to be contained in a single learning activity.

Spiral Learning advocates weaving these topics into every corner of our organizations and existing learning curriculum. Here are a few examples:

  • Executive development case studies should be focused on topics of Cyber Security or Sustainability. As we are teaching strategy or alignment, let’s make these “Spiral” topics the content focus.

  • Exemplars: Actively build exemplars of individuals or units that are aggressively tackling these topics and promote them as internal corporate “heroes”.

  • Teachable Moments: Managers should find regular “teachable moments” to focus on how we can take better approaches to educating employees about these topics.

  • Job Descriptions & Performance Review: These topics can be built into job descriptions and performance reviews to highlight their mission-critical status.

  • Contradiction Awareness: I was about to organize the distribution of a daily newsletter at our conference; then I thought about the Sustainability issues and the image of several hundred papers left on tables.

  • Hurdles: As learning and performance professionals, we should focus on behavioral hurdles that stand in the way of implementing approaches to address these important areas.

Spiral Learning Design is a great opportunity to combine learning with organizational development and corporate communication to spark strategic and measurable changes in our workplaces. Each of these Spiral Learning Topics lends itself to a measurement or dashboard.

We will be focusing on Spiral Learning at our Learning 2010 event, to be held from Oct 24- 27 in Orlando. We will hear from Howard Schmidt - White House Director of Cyber Security, Greg Hale - Safety Officer for Disney, and a wide range of learning leaders working on Sustainability and Virtual Leadership.

Complete information at

We have an Advanced Registration Discount and there are a range of hotel rooms still available.

Yours in learning,

Elliott Masie, Chair - The Learning CONSORTIUM

Sent by: The MASIE Center, PO Box 397, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


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