Yes, we DO have Rockstars of Learning

May 21, 2017

I often hear Learning & Development (L&D) Professionals lament that we have no real Rockstars in our profession. Presenting at ATD2017 this week, I’ve already grown tired of this in just two days:

“Our industry needs some kind of Rockstar to bring it to [mainstream consciousness, business relevance, legitimized status, or…somethingorother.]”

(sigh!) Okay…

The Rockstars of Learning are all around us, though. We just don’t like to recognize them from within our own echo chamber.

Tim Ferriss is one such fantastic example.

CC BY-SA 2.0 Julia de Boer Photography

When the #1 book on both the New York Times & Wall Street Journal bestseller lists is a book about learning, the #1 podcast is about learning, the #1 TV show on iTunes is about learning, AND the #1 Management and Leadership blog is about learning, those of us who work in the Learning & Development industry should probably stop and take notice that something is going on.

Every one of these are undeniably Rockstar-level achievements, after all. That they all happen to be from this one dude is fairly astonishing and totally unprecedented.

…And he’s not even really hit the airwaves yet. His new TV show comes out next week.

Might this Rockstar be on to something that we in the profession of learning could learn from ourselves?

Totally! But do we?

Well, not so much. Aside from having him breakdance on stage at the 2008 Training Conference, as near as I can tell our industry has totally ignored him.

I’ve had the privilege of speaking at many such conferences in the last year or two, myself. Funny how no matter how I many times I pitch the one session that breaks down Tim Ferriss’s methodology and translates it to conventional Instructional Designer lingo, no one wants to hear it. In fact, literally every other presentation I’ve pitched in the last 18-months has been picked up by at least one of the big three (ATD, The eLearning Guild, Training Magazine).

This is just one such Rockstar who is at our doorstep, and we continue to ignore him. It’s almost like we don’t take results seriously or something.

Once everyone at your summer barbecue and quarterly all-hands meetings knows who this guy is and a bit about how he does what he does — but you don’t — how is that going to make you feel?

Do yourself a favor and read the first 100 pages (Meta-Learning section) of The Four Hour Chef. Listen to a podcast or two. Look up from your work and see how much learning really does matter to the leadership and to the mainstream these days.

No, you won’t find this book at the ATD Conference bookstore, but you’ll find it at most every other bookstore on the planet.

And there is a huge opportunity for all of us here in that fact. We can appreciate someone who has traction the market, we can adopt him as our own, we can celebrate what works, and most importantly we can learn from his work.

I mean, if any industry knows how to learn and develop, it should be ours, right?

Then let’s ROCK ON, already!

Sam Rogers creates more effective, efficient, and engaging ways to deliver learning for clients including Google/YouTube, Capital One, Deloitte, and AAA. He’s a highly creative and technically proficient eLearning professional… who can’t help mentioning that he was the first solo act to win an A Cappella group competition.

Upcoming Events

  • ATD International Conference & Expo, Atlanta, May 20-24 2017 pre-conference workshop Smartphone Cinema for L&D Professionals
  • Learning DevCamp, Salt Lake City, June 5-8 2017 | Campthink session Learning Technologies: from Now to Next | Concurrent session Shoot Me Now: eLearning Video Gets Real
  • FocusOn Learning Conference, San Diego, June 18-22 2017 | Pre-conference workshop Smartphone Cinema for L&D Professionals | Concurrent session Video from the Business Perspective: Mitigating Risk and Maximizing | Concurrent session “We’ll Do It Live!”: Live Streaming for L&D | Morning buzz session Podcasting in L&D
  • Training Magazine Network Masters Series, online, July 14 2017 | Webinar From Now to Next in Learning Tech
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