Equal Opportunity Corporate Learning

Screen shot 2015-03-18 at 10.37.18 PM

This post written by Susan Fry and David Grebow

“Push” learning has gone the way of the cassette tape, tube television and electric typewriter.

Leading educators and trainers now regard push learning as inefficient, suboptimal and outdated. Even many schools, often the slowest institutions to change, are rapidly making the transition away from that model.

Yet, despite the fact that “push learning” is clearly not suited for today’s “economy of ideas,” corporations have been surprisingly reluctant to make the necessary change.


The reason may well lie in the fact that a “pull” learning culture is truly democratic. It’s a culture that encourages and supports everyone to explore and demonstrate their initiative and abilities, allowing the best to rise to the top based on merit.

That sounds like a great benefit to any organization. But when put into practice, the concept can prove to be quite revolutionary.

Throughout history, providing access to knowledge has been a way to control who gained power, wealth and status.

Learning and training are often hoarded and carefully doled out to people upon whom top management wish to confer success. Often, they are golden keys to elite private club that are given to friends’ children, colleagues, and clients, alumni from the same university, people of the same culture, class or color.

There can be no doubt that in the last 50 years, countries with the world’s leading economies have worked to erode discrimination and provide greater employment opportunities to people regardless of their race or gender.

It’s time organizations make another much-needed cultural shift, and “tear down the wall” by replacing the old, “push” learning culture with a “pull” culture that ensures equal opportunity learning.


KnowledgeStar is a corporation that consults with large and small organizations to transform themselves into learning cultures. Contact us at David(at)KnowledgeStar.(com) 


  1. davidgrebow13 · March 19, 2015

    The idea that a learning culture, one that enables everyone to share and pull the knowledge they need when they need it is democratic is can lead to equal opportuinity learning is the kind of thinking we need to build a bridge from where we are today to where we must be tomorrow.

    Tim Cook recently spoke about the intense focus that Steve Jobs had on the culture of Apple. A learning culture where great teams would waterfall down to make new great teams and so on. It was all about the culture and the fact that all great ideas could come from anyone and everyone needed to be able to find what they had to know. A learning culture is an enabling culture in which learning is an equal opportunity employer.


  2. Stephen J. Gill · March 19, 2015

    I agree with you about the egalitarian nature of a “pull” learning culture. I don’t think most CEOs intentionally withhold knowledge from certain employees, but that’s the effect of a “push” culture. Organizations, especially as they grow, tend to put more and more controls on employees, often out of fear that they will lose control. They use HR and training departments to mediate that control. What they fail to realize is that they are putting up a barrier to learning that prevents everyone in the workforce from contributing their full value.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s