Tag Archives: experiential learning;

Learning techniques – for education and life

An interesting and useful read from Harold Jarche on learning techniques framed in terms of PKM and sense-making. As with many areas of knowledge and learning, the post (and the research article cited – and summarised here) highlight the tendency towards shallow learning techniques and the avoidance of the more valuable, but harder, techniques of sense-making and critical thinking. The two key techniques here of elaborative interrogation and self-explanation seem to me to be two crucial steps in situated knowing and being able to think through the nitty-gritty pragmatic aspects of applying knowledge/ information in actual problem-solving situations. It is these approaches that should provide the situational links between education and professional practices.

streaming & learning

I came across a very interesting post here with a presentation from Chris Messina on life streaming. The approach taken in the presentation, especially the references to activity theory and activity systems made me to think about life streaming as a means of tracing and reflecting on informal learning in digital environments. In other words, can life streaming contribute to making explicit and recording learning as a social, interactional and an active process. While the majority of workplace learning is informal and so highly situated, such learning can also be unreflective. So, I suppose, my thinking is that where people work in the sort of (digital) environments being discussed by Chris, can life streaming be instrumental in enabling reflective and potential expansive learning by providing the mediating artefacts that activity theory suggests can support such processes and outcomes.

I can see lots of practical (and probably theoretical!) problems here – so was interested in this post from Graham Attwell on PLEs that refers to Ben Hammersley‘s budding as:

This sounds very much like part of a Personal Learning Environment to me: a tool which can allow us both to capture contextual learning where and when it happens and to repurpose it for presentation in different media …

Different media could include personal learning logs, blogs, reports, presentations, lessons learnt reports, wikis and so on. In other words, there is no reason for such micro-learning objects as assets of informal learning should, necessarily “melt in to air” once its immediate and situated utility is over.

Is it possible to use life streaming to trace micro-objects as memes for their ‘stickiness’, calls to action, capacity to spread, to be viral as a way to study, understand and reflect on implicit learning in practice?

Informal learning & Web 2.0

Interesting to see a number of reports pulling together increasing recognition of informal workplace learning [it was always the most common way of learning at work – unless you had ceased to think] along with increased authorised/ unauthorised use of Web2.0 applications for learning. See for example, here and here. Although, for me its a pity that the second post is illustrated by someone looking at Facebook ….

Finally, Capuccino U has been updated which is an good read on informal learning [learning in general really] challenging the mental maps of many working in the formalised learning/ education arena – I work in a university but lets not mentioned that …

5 “things” to promote learning in projects

1: generate immoveable deadlines – forcing project teams to focus on what is required (to meet the milestone) and to rethink problems and look for creative solutions

2: encourage cross-functional teams and/or construct teams of people who rarely or never work together – enhances the chances for new thinking between different disciplines and the reframing of project problems, issues and opportunities

3: focus on processes and methods for cross-functional working rather than creating new structures (ie, the quality unit) to do the work

4: but don’t be constrained by those processes – encourage teams to (consciously) subvert existing processes to ensure the project is a success. Organisational processes are the rythm section that enable project teams to improvise with rigor

5: the collection, analysis, dissemination and tranfer of new knowledge and learning from projects should be treated as a project in its own right – learning leakage is always a problem and should be minimised (see here).

Team learning, knowledge and CoPs

Following on from my previous post on team learning and another on collaboration I’m working on processes of organisational learning and the transfer of lessons learned through project activity to the wider organisation. As a project team disbands and takes it learning on to new projects there is a basic and obvious mechanism for transfer of learning (Sarah Fraser describes the idea much better than me here). Yet new learning in projects is highly situated and as new project teams develop so the new learning is altered and potentially transformed (as i understand it, this process of evaluation is the basis of the concept of dynamic capabilities). So project learning is built up over time and activity generating the organisational learning underpinning process-based change and firm evolution.

What seems important to me is to build in feedback loops for learning that enable that original project team to come back together to discuss and review how they’ve been able to apply those lessons in different situations/ contexts. While this provides opportunities for deep learning (individually, in teams and in the organisation) where real value is generated is in terms of utilising these diverse experiences of applying those lessons to go on to develop a common and transferable practice. This, to me is the strength of Communities of Practice – the shared repertiore – to develop new organisational signature processes and therefore enable strategic organisational learning.