Shame on us communicators and advertisers and content developers (ad nauseum).

Our learning and development colleagues know this principle of knowledge acquisition by heart:  10 percent relies on actual training, 20 percent, from others.  And the 70 percent?  From on-the-job experiences.

Recently, the experiential part of learning has been ramped up. 

Thanks in no small part to start-ups and tech businesses, blackboard-painted walls and tables on wheels act as inspiration and experience vehicles. 

Software developers, eager to understand why clients do what they do and what they want, hold what’s been called ‘participatory market research.’ 

And august institutions such as Harvard regularly conduct hands-on courses, from a prison studies project learning about criminal justice (in tandem) with prison inmates to re-engineering medical devises with doctors close at hand.

Why don’t we practice first-hand learning?  In other words, when there’s an issue that demands not just awareness but also the action to do something, communicators and colleagues need to seriously consider increasing the do-it-yourselves and how-tos. 

Take performance management, for instance.  A number of today’s more progressive organizations are killing the old ranking system and mid and year-end talks, replacing both with ongoing dialogues between boss and individual, team and individual.  At the same time, our high-tech reliance means many employees aren’t accustomed to conversations, with many preferring text, Instagram, Twitter, and email over traditional face to face.

The solution?  Show them how to talk, to handle difficult encounters, and to really listen and hear and learn.  It’s as much our goal as it is our L&D colleagues.