Training Frontline Leaders as Learning Accelerators with Ray Jimenez

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Episode summary

Frontline workers are troubleshooting constantly and need to quickly learn on the job. However, too often, the learning experience for frontline workers is heavy with answers that they need to memorise. Ray Jimenez, the Chief Learning Architect at Vignettes Learning, is back on the Learning While Working podcast to share why we need to encourage more informal learning and allow frontline workers the space to learn and think critically for themselves.

About Ray Jimenez

Ray Jimenez Ph.D. is the Chief Learning Architect at Vignettes Learning, trainingmagnetwork.com and situationexpert.com. He has worked with the American Bankers Association, Neiman Marcus, the US Air Force, NASA, Blue Cross, Goodwill Industries, Pixar Studios, Edison Missing Group, Dendreon, Netafim, Progressive Insurance, Bridgepoint Education, and the California Institute of Technology among others. Ray's expertise is in microlearning, story-based learning design, scenario-based learning design and creative problem solving.

Key takeaways:

  • The frontline leader is someone who coaches and troubleshoots on the job. Ray explains that workers need to focus on developing their skills in troubleshooting and thinking on the spot. Frontline workers day-to-day experience unpredictable environments and unique problems, so we need to empower them to think more.
  • The most important tool is to have a dynamic thinking process for every worker – it’s not about having all the answers. This redefines what we mean by working, which is about facing constant trial and error and discovering solutions. By applying tools like consequence thinking, learning becomes a natural byproduct.
  • The role of assessments. Ray questions why there needs to be formal assessments alongside the learning process. It’s natural to assess and recalibrate all the time, so assessment becomes a built-in process. It’s not about proving your knowledge to anyone, it’s there to demonstrate if something is working or not working.

Segmented time stamps:

  • 02:46 What is a frontline leader and how they can become learning accelerators
  • 07:58 Why Ray is focusing on the frontline worker
  • 11:56 Some tools to help frontline managers become learning accelerators
  • 16:58 Informal versus formal learning
  • 18:56 The role of L&D in this new way of workplace learning
  • 22:05 Rethinking the role of assessment

Links from the podcast: