Thursday, 20 March 2008

Venus and Mars

One of the regular complaints from learning and development professionals about technologists (hereafter, techies) is that they talk ‘Martian’, so much a specialist jargon that it's an alien language that serves to exclude everyone but themselves.

It’s a harsh judgement, but I think a fair one. There’s just one problem, though.

Learning and development is just as bad! Our professionals have their own alien language that often excludes others. If techies speak Martian, trainers speak Venusian.

When I worked with the eLearning Alliance, I found my main task was to bring together these two distinct professional communities and get them to communicate. Which was when we found great synergies, as both sides realised they had a lot to learn from each other. Effectively, we were bringing Mars and Venus down to Earth.

I used this metaphor once too often, and one wag looked me straight in the eye and said “you’re talking from Uranus”. There’s always one!

Have I got a serious point? Yes, I think we could all stand to use a lot less jargon and a lot more plain English.

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