There are more questions than answers…

Apart from being a great tune by Johnny Nash I thought I’d to post up a few of the questions that have been making me think this week.

Each question is probably worth a blog piece in its own right, but I’ll set each up here and see what answers I get back from the online community.

How to I get learners to want to generate learning content?
This isn’t an issue over the ability of the learners, neither in their fundamental ability to perform nor their ability to help others learn.  I have an absolute acceptance that their vanilla content should be shared, without alteration or edit unless it is technically incorrect and liable to put someone at risk.  This isn’t even a question of process – I can relatively easily engineer a process that will make their content available.  This is a question of motivation.  I was at a meeting a few weeks ago which was looking (in part) at how learners will be able to share learning of a new topic.  The meeting room should have been full but was less than 10% of capacity – maybe 20 people.  It’s a safe assumption that everyone in the room won’t share what they learn, let’s say 30% will.  Of that 30%, let’s assume that 30% will share regularly.  From the 20 who were there that would be 2 people.    How do we:
1. Encourage more learners (and potential sharers) to attend in the first place?
2. Support those learners so a higher proportion will share?

What does informal in informal learning really mean?
There’s a great piece on Jane Hart’s C4LPT site by Jay Cross that explains informal learning.  The description there is:
 “Learning resulting from daily work-related, family or leisure activities. It is not organised or structured (in terms of objectives, time or learning support). Informal learning is in most cases unintentional from the learner’s perspective. It typically does not lead to certification.”
I’m becoming increasingly more annoyed at seeing L&D try and create metrics around informal learning.  In 40 minutes or so this week we created a 6 frame comic strip this week to help managers think about performance issues.  It’ll be available to download in paper or pdf for managers to use if they want.  Someone asked me how we’d be able to track which managers had downloaded it.  We could count how many managers download it, but what’d be the point?  It wouldn’t show how long they spend thinking about it or, perhaps more importantly, what they learn from it.  Does that mean we shouldn’t create activities like this?

How do I explain disruptive learning as a concept?
I’ve been working on a piece about innovating learning for a little while and there’s one phrase that some have trouble with – the term disruptive learning.  I’ve described my concept with a number of people and everyone has challenged the phrase.  I picked up the term earlier this year from some research I was doing as part of my role as a school governor.  I saw it in a piece of work by the Innosight Institute that was looking at emerging trends in hybrid online and classroom-based instruction.  Their white paper identifies six models that are emerging in learning in schools in the U.S.
They define blended learning as:
“any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace.”
The six models identified in the report included:

  1. The “face-to-face driver” model, in which a teacher in a traditional classroom instructional setting employs online learning for remediation or supplemental instruction;
  2. The “rotation: model, in which students move back and forth between online and classroom instruction;
  3. “Flex,” a model in which the curriculum is delivered primarily through an online platform, with teachers providing onsite support;
  4. The “online lab” approach, wherein an online course is delivered in a physical classroom or computer lab;
  5. “Self-blend,” a model in which students choose on their own which courses they take online to supplement their schools’ offerings; and
  6. The “online driver” model, where the courses are primarily online and physical facilities are used only for extracurricular activities, required check-ins, or similar functions.
So, more questions:

  • How different does that look to what workplace L&D call blended learning?
  • How do we generate inertia for the models listed above?
  • Do we want to?
As always, all comments welcome.

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