Learning Workflows


“Innovation and change will outpace everyone's ability to learn their jobs, but the work will still need to be performed." --Bill Crose

The US Patent Office granted 52,000 patents in 1979 and 319,000 in 2019. At that rate there will be 39 MILLION patents granted between 2019 and 2049, each possibly representing an entirely new product or way of doing things that have never before been dreamed of.

Throughout our history, memorization has been essential to learning and performance and repeatedly performing workflows aka practice has proven to be the best way to memorize and learn workflows. The Pythia verbal workflow management (VWM) system enables workers to learn basic skills and workflows by repeatedly performing them and getting continuous improvement feedback on the specific workflow steps where workers need it.

With Pythia, learning and performance organizations are able to execute their ADDIE, SAM, and similar workflows faster, more effectively, and at a lower cost. This is highly important in rapid-paced environments where the learning organization has already become known for being a bottleneck to important projects and progress. Pythia enables learning professionals to: 1) Automatically acquire valid, unbiased, reliable performance data at workflow step and worker detail, then use that data for performance Analysis and Evaluation purposes as well as highly-focused coaching, 2) Collaborate with other business units to Design and Develop performance improvement interventions that exceed the scope of learning organizations, 3) Implement only the most necessary and sufficient solutions first, which may preclude the time and financial cost of formal training, 4) Support continuous improvement initiatives by enabling workflows to be changed on-the-fly, optimized in progressively larger groups until approved, then released to all workers, and 5) Control workflow content to assure every worker is following exactly the same instructions every time, anywhere in the world, in the worker's preferred language.

Pythia is essential for people who work with their hands and cannot safely, efficiently, or sanitarily access computers, handheld devices, or even printed aids as they work. Despite the automation and robotics revolution, there are still more people who work with their hands in the world than do not and their numbers will stay constant or even grow in coming years thanks to accelerating innovation. These workers develop, optimize, and produce the products and deliver all the services businesses sell for profit. They are bartenders and cooks, doctors and nurses, chemists and microbiologists, installers and assemblers, electronics and mechanical engineers, and many others. They can be found everywhere around the world, in nearly every business.

While learning has served for eons as Maslow's Hammer* for enabling performance, that capability has never been fully realized. In fact, there have always been unlearnable workflows including workflows: a) With too many steps to memorize, b) With steps that change too often to memorize, c) Performed too infrequently to memorize, and d) Too numerous to memorize. With 39 MILLION new products and many more workflows on the horizon, the number of unlearnable workflows can only increase. But this is only part of the learnability problem. Unlearnable workflows also exist when: a) Worker turnover is so high that workers cannot memorize all the workflows required before they leave their jobs, b) Insufficient practice time is provided for the workflows to be memorized, and c) Insufficient and/or low quality performance feedback is provided during practice sessions. There are also situations where workflow performance should never be left to memory from a safety, quality, and continuous improvement perspective. The Pythia verbal workflow management system enables people who work with their hands and requisite basic skills to perfectly perform both learnable and unlearnable workflows and continuously improve organizational performance.

Edwards Deming famously said, "In God we trust; all others bring data." Until recently, it was very difficult if not impossible for businesses to capture valid, unbiased, and reliable performance data across manual worker populations. In fact, when Peter Senge first described a "Learning Organization" back in 1990, he outlined a one-stop shop for enabling, assuring, and continuously improving learning, but did not note a need for performance data. Learning organizations were given a singular responsibility and accountability; learning, and the measure of good learning organizations became the number of people trained, test scores, the number of new programs developed, and satisfaction scores from learners. Thirty years on, it is now clear learning organizations carried no expectation of enabling, assuring, or continuously improving performance while performance improvement has always been the implied intention of learning. Pythia enables learning organizations to become "Performance Organizations", to be responsible and accountable for performance across businesses, through the use of data instead of faith.

*Maslow's Hammer: Also known as the "Law of the Instrument", "The Golden Hammer", and the "Law of the Hammer". As quoted by Abraham Maslow -" ...If the only tool you have is a hammer, [you] treat everything as if it were a nail."

To learn more about how the Pythia verbal workflow management system can help you improve performance,

contact Adyton or a Pythia distributor today.

Pythia Benefits for the Learning Industry