E-Learning… Axelos has it right!.. Almost

On Nov 19, 2013 Axelos issued a press release outlining their  12 month strategy for the development of  PPM and ITIL®.  In that release they made the following statement:

“AXELOS research shows that standard e-learning is not sufficient to deliver good outcomes, so we will focus on experiential learning methods such as gaming and simulation.”

I know in the past I have been an visible opponent of e-learning in general as an approach to ITIL training. I still feel if you could look at “value” delivered in the industry by e-learning and measure it against the “value” delivered in the industry by instructor led training, e-learning would pale in comparison. However, I recognize that this does not do justice to the industry to generalize like this. That being said, I have 2 issues with AXELOS’ statement.

My first issue is that AXELOS decided to limit this statement to e-learning. I attest that “certification” is not sufficient to deliver good outcomes. Singling out e-learning as the problem that needs to be addressed was wrong. My second issue is that AXELOS does not make it clear what “good outcomes” are.

If the ultimate “good outcome” is improved Service Management capabilities within the organization, then certification means very little. It is at best a rudimentary  measurement of the progression through the knowledge spectrum. While knowledge is an essential requirement on our journey to improved capabilities, experience is the key ingredient. Experiential Learning will move people a little further along this path but nothing will replace experience.

Bottom line is that for organizations to achieve good outcomes, they need to commit to the pain needed to implement improvements. They need to recognize that culture will resist, organization structures will need to be changed, policies will need to be updated, tools will have to be modified, measurements will need to be put in place, management practices will need to be changed, and yes, people will need new knowledge.