Education, and specifically the art of designing, developing and delivering it, is far too often interpreted as an exercise in content depth. Moreover, it is continuously relegated to formal instructor-led or eLearning formats. To shift to the ‘connected learning’ model, where learning is part formal, informal and social, education purists might assist the overall evolution of the industry (from antiquated to purposeful) by employing the use of The Educational T.

Education and thus the process of learning is denoted by the level of breadth and the level of depth that is required to ensure transfer of knowledge is occurring. It is not solely depth that is required. Conversely, with the introduction of social and informal learning, many are worried formal learning opportunities such as eLearning and classroom instructor-led, will disappear. Rest assured all modalities are safe from extinction. What needs to be considered for a given topic, however, is what level of breadth may be necessary in concert with the level of depth to ensure the learner has the most holistic and expeditious result. Let’s consider two examples to illustrate the model. Customer Education departments are stuck in the Cenozoic era. High profit margins of 50%+ were or continue to be the norm due to an all instructor-led and eLearning diet of offerings. Rarely does a corporation’s customer education department venture off to position The Educational T for its customers as is illustrated below.


Why don’t they? Partly it’s due to fear of change, and partly it’s due to an inability to think outside of the vortex that all education must be high in depth, rich in content, and thus developed for formal instructor-led or eLearning modalities. I argue they can utilize The Educational T and provide a much greater experience to their customers. (yes, some of it may have to be offered for free) Another example concerns internal education departments. Through the introduction of informal and social learning into an organization, one can benefit from an education menu being rich with both breadth and depth. Clearly through the ‘connected learning’ model, one can appreciate the relationship between formal, informal and social learning modalities. When it comes to actually designing learning paths for your organization, whether in the learning team or elsewhere, employees would be wise to think through how the combination of both breadth and depth can aid in the learning objectives itself. Not all content needs to go deep. Through the introduction of user generated content, facilitated by collaboration technologies, the breadth of content could be aided by company employees. That isn’t to say external vendors aren’t allowed to contribute to the breadth part of the equation though. And yes, there is the argument that The Educational T, is too modality focused. For example, there are instances when instructor-led or eLearning may be found within the ‘breadth’ portion of the T. This representation of the T in the two examples showcased above is simply an example. I leave it up to you to utilize a blank slate Educational T and determine how best to construct your education, learning paths, and your ultimate quest to ensure knowledge is adequately positioned for your target audience.


Find out if you’re currently blooming, budding, stunted or in need of renewal through the Work-Life Bloom Personal Assessment.



  • Dan is a conference organizer’s ideal speaker. Not only did he inspire and energize our group, but he also masterfully adapted his content so it resonated with the audience and our conference theme. As a bonus, Dan is able to nimbly navigate to adjust to a reduced time slot when other speakers went over time without sacrificing the impact of his session.

    Director and General Counsel
  • Dan accomplished what we set out to do, which was not only to be inspirational, but also to leave everyone with tools and food for thought / self-reflection to improve their personal and professional lives.

    Hermann Handa, FCT
  • Dan challenged us to have clarity of purpose, both as individuals and as an organization. He related inspiring stories drawing on his experience in business, technology and academia. As he said, ‘There is no ownership without belonging.’

    Christian Pantel, D2L
  • Dan Pontefract suggests leaders must be transformational and transactional, collaborative and considerate, daring and decisive, inclusive and insistent, playful and formal, harmonious, and humble, encouraging and results-driven. In a word, Flat.

    Robert Morris
    “How to strengthen engagement, empowerment, and execution, then leverage them for a decisive competitive advantage”

Media Appearances

sidebar hashtag menu home office pencil images camera headphones music video-camera bullhorn connection mic book books file-empty files-empty folder folder-open price-tag barcode qrcode cart coin-dollar coin-euro mobile user users user-plus user-minus key lock unlocked glass mug spoon-knife fire bin switch cloud-download cloud-upload bookmark star-empty star-half star-full play pause stop backward forward first last previous next eject volume-high volume-medium volume-low volume-mute amazon google whatsapp twitter dribbble behance behance-black github appleinc finder windows8 skype pinterest pinterest-o chrome firefox edge safari opera file-pdf file-word file-excel html-five asterisk search search-plus search-minus cog arrow-circle-o-down arrow-circle-o-up edit share-square-o check-square-o arrows question-circle arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up arrow-down mail-forward expand compress eye eye-slash comment twitter-square facebook-square camera-retro cogs comments thumbs-o-up thumbs-o-down sign-out linkedin-square external-link sign-in unlock feed bell-o arrow-circle-left arrow-circle-right arrow-circle-up arrow-circle-down globe filter arrows-alt link paperclip bars envelope linkedin rotate-left bell angle-left angle-right angle-up angle-down desktop mail-reply mail-reply-all chain-broken chevron-circle-left chevron-circle-right chevron-circle-up chevron-circle-down html5 unlock-alt youtube-square youtube-play dropbox stack-overflow apple windows trello female male arrow-circle-o-right arrow-circle-o-left wordpress file-image-o paper-plane paper-plane-o share-alt cc-visa cc-paypal cc-stripe bell-slash bell-slash-o facebook-official trademark registered wikipedia-w question-circle-o