Tag Archives: informal learning

Professional learning, informal learning and ‘wicked’ problems [2]

Following up on my previous post on learning and wicked problems here, the following diagram summarises a learning process in non-routines knowledge work. Again, this comes from Peter Sloep’s Chapter on Networked Professional Learning in Littlejohn, A. and Margaryan, A. (2014) Technology Enhanced Professional Learning: Processes, Practices and Tools. London: Routledge.

What I like about the process described is its iterative nature and that, ultimately, the ‘vague problem’ doesn’t really disappear through a simple solution. Rather, my reading of the process is that ‘solutions’ and their implementation generate further understanding of the vague problem, hopefully making it less vague and so initiating a new round of evaluation and analysis. But also, any intervention also generates new unexpected and vague ‘problem’s to be learned about and addressed.

Wicked problem solving

 

Professional learning, informal learning and ‘wicked’ problems

This is a diagram I’ve drawn based on Peter Sloep’s Chapter on Networked Professional Learning in Littlejohn, A. and Margaryan, A. (2014) Technology Enhanced Professional Learning: Processes, Practices and Tools. London: Routledge:

Learning, creativity and knowledge work

 

I’ve posted previously on Peter Sloep’s work on learning networks. I found this chapter to be a useful analysis of the concept of networked learning in relation to professional learning specifically (and that’s an important distinction). What the diagram attempts to summarise is that professional and knowledge-based integrated work and learning tends to take place where learning is predominately informal (as needed and highly situated) as professionals are addressing ill-defined and complex work problems. Such problems require (interdisciplinary) professional knowledge creatively applied. Valuable professional knowledge work and valuable professional learning takes place through tackling ‘wicked’ problems. 

So how might learning and development functions and professionals best support and enable learning in these wicked problems? Does professional education currently develop the creative and meta-learning capabilities required for working in and on wicked problems?

Whether formal or informal, its the learning that counts

I liked Nick Shacklton-Jones’ post arguing that there’s no such thing as formal learning concluding that

My point, I suppose, is that if you have a good understanding of how learning works, you don’t have to fabricate mythical species of learning to explain what you see. There is just learning, and the way in which it happens in various contexts. The more you think about it, the sillier it seems – that we should categorise learning based on the convention in which it occurs. The same mechanism is at work, whatever the context.

Formal learning, as he is describing it, is really a task-based activity concerned with completion to a quality standard (assessment/ exams). By understanding learning as what it is, intentional and self-directed allows an almost complete reconfiguration of how learning is supported (not provided or delivered). It should be emphasised that learning is about learning ‘how’ to do something and so also, knowing where to find information/ knowledge and who to ask and much less acquiring knowledge.

For this reason, I think a research project on ‘Charting‘:

Charting is the process whereby an individual manages and optimises their interaction with the people and resources who (may) have a role in their learning and development.

is well worth watching – for its implications for work-based learning as well as for higher education.

mid week round up

A few things found (mainly) via Twitter:

An interesting article on the life-span of a shared link (its effectively over in the first 2000 seconds unless the link is on YouTube)
A presentation from Kineo on e-learning trends. Interesting mainly for the contrdictions – LMS’s are important but informal learning is the trend to watch and no mention of the integration of work and learning (I’m sure this is the basis of knowledge work isn’t it).
An interesting post on eportfolios. I’ve always struggled to engage with a formal eportfolio tool as a meaningful tool for learning as opposed to presentation. Partly, its the thought of being locked-in to a single product/ institution etc. when so many good open tools are available – may (still) favourites are here. So what is the benefit of a single eportfolio application?

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?

roundup of interesting stuff: edupunk and social business

More on edupunk/ hacking the education “system” here Although I think there is a conflation of two issues here: (a) the brand recognition and market value of possessing a recognised degree (preferably from a prestigious university and (b) the power of the www to enable lifelong learning. So one is concerned with the confirmation that I have understanding of a particular body of knowledge in a form that others will recognise, the other is about learning and reflection in pursuit of my own interests, to be more productive/ innovative, etc. at work

This post overlaps many of the issues highlighted in the notion of the business as a social environment. If the ability to learn is key to competitive advantage then designing organsiational forms and practices around learning – social, informal, serendipitous – becomes an organisational imperative which is so much of what enterprise2.0 is about.

social media platforms for learning

Here is the last in an excellent series of posts on social media platforms for learning from Jane Hart at the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies. Much of the challenge for the provision of qualifications is in the cultural, pedagogical (or should it be andagogical) and bureaucratic changes required to allow the formal accreditation of the demonstration of learning through social media. Is there a cultural similarity between the control imperative of qualifications based quality assurance agencies and traditional management thinking/ practice with both acting as barriers to social media adoption reaching its full potential for learning?

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 …