Marc Rosenberg on Libraries, Training, and Knowledge Management

If there had been a large contingent of library staff attending Marc Rosenberg’s “Beyond E-Learning” presentation for trainers this afternoon in San Diego, they probably would have offered him a standing ovation.
Addressing the audience for his “Showcase Speakers” session at the ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) 2008 International Conference & Exposition, the author of E-Learning Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age praised libraries for having what he called the best knowledge management system in our country—the Dewey Decimal system. Much of the knowledge and information available to learners and to trainers online, on the other hand, is far from easy to find and use, he maintained: “We have information chaos in our organizations.”
The current Learning 2.0 revolution, which is moving training away from its traditional focus on trainers and toward a new focus on learners and knowledge management, is a positive evolutionary step, according to Rosenberg. Instead of relying on classrooms and workshops to meet staff training needs—what he calls a “course centric” view of knowledge—learners and trainers alike are shifting toward a “knowledge centric” system.
Moving beyond e-learning, we find what Rosenberg refers to as “The Smart Enterprise,” and it sounds as if its mission statement is closely parallel to what libraries can and should be in a world requiring nonstop training: “A high performance organization that allows knowledge, enabled by technology, to grow and flow freely…for the use and benefit of all.”
Rosenberg’s model is firmly rooted in the idea that first-rate learning-training-teaching organizes and provides a comprehensive set of resources, not just classroom instruction: workplace experts; formal courses; information repositories; live events such as conferences or workplace team meetings; and virtual communities—all of which are becoming more common in library staff training programs.
I wasn’t alone in wanting to thank Rosenberg for his comments after the session ended.
“My reaction was that it was an affirmation,” Shahé Sanentz, a librarian who has worked for public as well as academic libraries and now is with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation’s library—the Novartis Knowledge Center in East Hanover, New Jersey—told me as we had a brief post-session conversation. “I’m going to tell my colleagues that once again an opinion leader is acknowledging us.”
As for Rosenberg’s love of and appreciation for libraries, he explained it succinctly: “My wife is a librarian.”