Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lots to learn from the past

A comment on a recent post from Harold Jarche;

I tend to like what Harold is espousing but I have reservations and whilst i know I will ruffle some feathers, my perspective on this is that we too often assume a Utopian state for the future and also assume that an individual has the intrinsic "competence" to learn without formal intervention or direction.

Recently I had a major implementation of a "new way of thinking about your business" program to roll out to managers of our distribution network. When we went to them and said "this is your choice, how would you like to learn?" the overwhelming response was a blend of formal classroom education and the opportunity to network in a community of practice.

The problem we face is that the place of work becomes, for a lot of people, the last educational institution they will attend. This is why the 'Senge' version of the learning organisation is important. People bring with them their early and secondary educational models of learning and given they are "mostly" comfortable with them they tend to continue to want this in some form or another.

This is not to say that this form of learning is not effective but rather, is something that we need to recognise, will always be an "inherited" experience and therefore something we will need to work with until the fundamentals are changed in terms of our early education models.


Anonymous said...


I think individuals do have the intrinsic competence to learn -- or they wouldn't be speaking, dressing themselves, or even surviving misguided attempts to "train" them by locking them in dark rooms and pounding them with PowerPoint.

I agree, however, than many people haven't reflected on how they learn, or even how they like to learn. There's a widespread perception that formal classroom training is a kind of competence energy bar: highly concentrated, if not all that flavorful. It's good for you.

At the same time, people flee from being sent involuntarily to such training, because they know where the reality conflicts with the platonic ideal.

In on-the-job learning, I believe the ends justify the means. What I really means:

When people find that non-traditional learning (meaning nearly anything where you're not sitting in rows listening to someone talk) helps them produce valuable results better than before, those results convince them that the new methods are a road worth following.

Wilko said...

Fair call David. But that intrinsic competence or "will" begins to dissapate at age 7 (if we believe neuro science)and so we need to ensure that the models of tuition, learning and teaching encompass informal learning techniques or the "skill" of learning will always be the traditional K-12 model and this then sayas we still have a long way to go.