The 21st-Century Workplace is a Cognitive Battleground. What’s Your Training Strategy?

Ever feel completely wiped at the end of of a work day? According to Nemo Chu, a neuroscientist might offer the following explanation:

The brain, despite being just ~2% of our body’s mass, actually accounts for ~20% of our body’s total energy consumption.

What is 20%? To put that in perspective, that’s like having a 20-watt light bulb burning in our heads. And that’s when we’re doing nothing. In other words, our brains are burning 20% of our body’s energy while we’re in our resting state.

Not only does our brain demand a lot of energy, but much like the rest of our body, it has been biologically programmed to try and conserve energy. But in today’s knowledge economy, more and more demands are being put on our brains and, in turn, the more and more our brains want to conserve.

So how does this impact trainers? According to Chu:

The 21st-century workplace is a cognitive battleground, and if training and development professionals want to do battle there with their workshops and PowerPoint slides, be ready to face a lot of opposition.

For some organizations, knowledge workers simply aren’t ready to learn in the workplace.

Chu advocates making learning material accessible for individual to learn when they are ready to learn, when their brains are more rested and not being sollicited by whatever else is going on in the workplace. In fact, Chu advocates developping learning content for mobile devices for anytime, anywhere access.


Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

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