Supplement your learning

Image from FlickR Courtesy of billaday

I wrote about transforming learning last time; we’re moving round our model next to the supplement box.

In the past this supplementary activity has been the elearning module, the crib sheet, the performance support documents that L&D have created.  Think about the Mexican food analogy – they’re the side dish.  Within supplementary now we’re looking at activity that supplements the transform elements we listed previously.

A brief reminder; supplementary within our model is learning that is informal (managed by the learner) and sustaining (contains a specified standard.

Let’s look at the offer.


  I’m not sure people understand what a wiki is. Wikipedia describes them as:

 a website which allows its users to add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser

I’m sure that Wikis are not used enough as a learning activity; they are a true  collaboration of shared content. They can standardise a range of inputs, allow lots of users to add and share information and it doesn’t matter whether the contributor is an expert or an amateur. What they also provide is a learning resource output that can be shared outside the group of learners.

User Generated Content

Within this part of the model, user generated content needs to be a little more sophisticated.  What you should be expecting here are checklists and best practices.  These will create sustaining elements and will differ from UGC within the transform area by being focused more outputs than inputs. The UGC within the transform box will suggest disruptive ways to carry out a task; sustaining UGC will be more specific.


As I mentioned before, these are spaces both online and offline that can host learner conversations.  The difference in this area of the model is in terms of content; the forums will host sustaining activity to a specific standard.

Peer Marked Activities

If anything demonstrates the command and control mentality within L&D, it’s within assignments.  Why do L&D need to mark content?  Can’t it be marked by other learners?  Peer marking can generally provide faster feedback, can support a deeper understanding of errors learners have made and can take away the ‘test’ mentality of assessments.

Personal Research

As I wrote previously, if you want to stay at the top of your game you need to put the hours in.  The same goes for your learners – what standards exist for their work?  When were these reviewed?  What’s the current thinking?  What technological or sociological changes are taking place that may impact on the work?  This is the research your learners may need to do.  L&D role is not to provide the information, but to offer guidance as to where the paths may be.


The lines are becoming blurred between Continuing Professional Development and Continuing Personal Development.  Jane Hart picks out some of these ideas within this piece on Smart Workers.  I see the role of L&D as it says in the article:

Helping individuals to make effective use of the Social Web

  • helping them with their Personal Knowledge Management
  • set up filters to deal with information overload, etc. and
  • encourage the curation of content for dissemination

Peer Coaching

Coaching has, in many organisations, been based on seniority – the manager as coach course is still widely sold across L&D.  My question here would be, why does it have to be a seniority issue?  A pair (or group) of workers can discuss their job roles, skills, behaviours, tasks, as well as a manager and staff member.  If required, some guidance can be made available, but why can’t peer coaching networks work as well as the manager’staff member discussions?

Tag Cloud

The Tag Cloud was created for us on our DLE by Learning Pool, our elearning provider.  Our DLE has the facility to store staff members key skill areas.  Our proposal is that each staff member adds 3 skills they excel at.  The tag cloud is like a wordle that will be built on the skills that the staff add. Other staff can then use the tag cloud to identify specific support they may need, skills that they may not know were available in the organisation, or add additional skills if they identify gaps.

Day to day conversations

Again, these are learning but they’re not ours to measure.

What else would you add?  What other activities are informal and sustaining?  Let me know your thoughts below.

One response to “Supplement your learning

  1. Pingback: Improve your learning experiences | Lost and Desperate·

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