Training, depending as it does on the tyranny of time and location (sending people at a specific time to a separate place to learn), has a GARGANTUAN carbon footprint. Learning psychology shows that real contexts enhance our ability to learn, recall and apply what we’ve learnt, yet we still feel the need to transport millions of people away from the workplace to learn. The rising waters of bottom-up, web 2.0 knowledge creation could maybe keep the real rising waters down. We need only accelerate this, embrace it and be explicit on dropping the need for endless, formal courses in separate locations, training ecntres and far-off places.
Carbon free training
The learning world is always beating itself up about not being heard at the top table, bemoaning the fact that ‘learning’ doesn’t the recognition it deserves. Time and time again I hear this speech from learning professionals. Perhaps we could start by aligning ourselves to the most important political and business issue of the day – climate change. We could state publicly that we will stop all off-site courses, stop all air travel for training and adopt the e-learning model. Our carbon-free training would count towards the carbon savings in annual report and could be used to generate good publicity for the organisation.
Practice what we preach
A good starting point would be a policy statement, followed by some e-learning on energy conservation in the workplace, especially around computers, standby modes, lights off and so on. Away days could be a thing of the past. European funders could insist on future European projects avoid all stupid air travel for endless meetings under the banner of collaboration. If you want to collaborate, collaborate online.