AlliedBarton was not one of the early adopters of pull learning. Much of the reasoning behind its recent adoption is the highly regulated nature of the security industry. This is not uncommon. According to Chris Tratar, senior director of product marketing at Saba, early adopters tend to have heavy focuses on knowledge worker industries, which include consulting, tech companies and any organization with a robust research and design process. There, pull learning can facilitate the need for collaboration and sharing.
Resource directories and digital asset libraries are often the result. Businesses that tend to be more enamored of formal push types of learning are often companies with certification and compliance requirements such as AlliedBarton.
Deciding when push or pull learning works best is predicated on the idea that push and pull types of learning are mutually exclusive. In reality, they are inextricably intertwined. Take, for example, the mobile sales app at AlliedBarton. The sales team’s questions are pushed out through a pull technology and reinforcement mechanism.
“Push and pull are kind of like ying and yang, two halves of the same circle,” Ambrose said. “It’s a mistake to think of them as separate entities, and the way you design for them is really to bring them together in a place where they can help one another.”
Leaders at learning providers, including Tratar at Saba and John Ambrose, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Skillsoft, agree that in the future usage will increase for informal learning.
Further, the rise in informal learning is emblematic of a larger change in learning and development departments. It is impossible to believe that with the fast pace of business today learning and development departments can possibly create enough content to keep up with the centralized model of pushing out learning, Tratar said.
The solution? Create a new generation of learning management systems. Tratar said the first generation of LMS was not developed to benefit the end user, but rather to help the learning department manage and administer training. The second generation will need to move away from acting as “broom closets for courses” and allow the user more latitude in determining what is best for his or her professional development, Ambrose said.
“The new breed of LMS has to be one that accommodates both push and pull and brings together these informal resources and formal resources in a way that’s intuitive,” Ambrose said. “That means including a robust search so users can quickly find specific nuggets they’re looking for and emphasizing a flexible pedagogy instead of a very static catalog.”
Ultimately, including pull types of learning will help learning departments act as enablers rather than regulators of learning.