Autonomous Learning…or have you done your POOS?

Image from FlickR Courtesy of Vitor Sá - Virgu

I’ve had a few conversations in the last couple of weeks about the expectation of a learner. The structure of the model we’re suggesting will place more on the learner to take responsibility for their practice.  And why shouldn’t it? I added to the proliferation of L&D terms the other day by suggesting on Twitter that learning and performance objectives should be Personally Owned, Organisationally Supported (POOS).

Once you get past the POOS acronym and the comedy value it creates:

  • should organisations measure our POOS?
  • do POOS need to be loose and flexible or rigid and unyiedling?
  • etc (feel free to create your own)

I think there is some real value in considering how to make POOS a reality as part of your L&D offer.

Personally Owned (PO) is easier to define in the first instance by what it isn’t; it isn’t about the manager setting objectives which the learner ‘signs up’ to.  Jane Hart discussing ownership of learning recently said personal ownership was about:

recognizing that most of your real learning takes place continuously

It’s about the learner knowing how performance and learning are intrinsically combined within their workplace activity.  For this to happen, your learner needs to be able define their performance and learning goals themselves.  PO is about the individual taking accountability and not just responsibility for their performance and learning objectives.

PO should be extended to scheduling, planning, and contributing to activities.  Reviewing progress should be undertaken by your learner, for your learner.  Reflection of their performance and identifying learning elements are core parts of PO. Keeping on track is your learner’s responsibility and core to PO.  If they can’t do it – that’s where the organisational support comes in.

Organisational Support (OS) is about creating the platforms that allow your learners to understand how they can develop their performance. OS isn’t about adding L&D’s learning objectives to content but defining how your support reflects the organisation’s and individuals’ goals.

OS is about creating cultures where PO can thrive.  OS will encourage PO outside of strictly defined performance outputs.  OS will support outcomes and the paths the learners need to get to them.

This week’s #chat2lrn was a great example of how we need to start thinking of developing POOS – it simply asked ‘If you were your organisation’s leader……what would you expect from Learning?’

If I was a leader, I’d want to know my L&D was able to think in POOS.

What do you think?  Do we need to change the way we think of our function?  Can you add any more jokes?  Feel free to use the comments box below.

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