When I first entered the learning and development profession, I was assigned a mentor, a certain Mr Ernest Knagg. Ernest had strong opinions on just about all matters of pedagogy and good practice and that included the issue of attitudes. “Clive,” he said, “It’s not our business to try and change people’s attitudes. We can try and change what they do, but not what they feel about things.”
There’s a certain sense in what Ernest said, although time and time again I’ve encountered situations where attitudes are a major block to progress. I’ve checked this out with lots of other learning professionals and they agree. It’s almost impossible to address issues of knowledge and skill when attitudes are in the way.
An attitude is a predisposition, a tendency to think, feel or act in a certain way without reference to the facts of the situation. Try getting past “I absolutely hate computers”, “My job would be perfect if only there were no customers”, “I would never give a job to someone like that” or “E-learning is inherently evil.”
For a fuller discussion, see ‘A question of attitude‘.
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