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My own PD this month raised discussion on the topic of what the key purpose of my job was. To impart knowledge, or to help people become knowledge-able?

The talk was stimulated by Michael Wesch, associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, in an interview on what iGen (the youngest generation) are looking for. Knowledge of how the world works is slowly becoming redundant as younger generations re-define how we do our jobs, what jobs are of value, attitudes towards work, and attitudes towards life. He talks about evoking a sense of wonder in students, inspiring them to ask more questions, to seek more knowledge – let’s face it, they can usually find the answer to anything at any time through their preferred search engine!

So if they can get knowledge on their own – what is our role as trainers or L&D specialists? I’m delighted to say that it’s to ask questions, to challenge assumptions and beliefs, to introduce some theories and concepts and to encourage debate on their current validity and usefulness. In many of my training sessions I’ve stated up front that my intent is for learners to leave with more questions than they came with – in effect, to be knowledge-able.

Prepare for the next training session you attend – what do you want to know? Why do you need to know it? What problem or opportunity do you have that this information or session could address? Learning is easy when you’re curious.


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