Yesterday I talked about the seeding, feeding, and weeding necessary to develop a self-sustaining network. I referred to supporting the activities that we find in natural learning, for both formal and informal learning. The goal is to align our organized support with our learners to optimize the outcome. In thinking about it (and borrowing heavily from some slides by Jay Cross), I discerned (read: worked hard to fit :) 7 C’s of learning that characterize how we learn before schooling extinguishes the love of learning:
Choose: we are self-service learners. We follow what interests us, what is meaningful to us, what we know is important.
Commit: we take ownership for the outcomes. We work until we’ve gotten out of it what we need.
Crash: our commitment means we make mistakes, and learn from them.
Create: we design, we build, we are active in our learning.
Copy: we mimic others, looking to their performances for guidance.
Converse: we talk with others. We ask questions, offer opinions, debate positions.
Collaborate: we work together. We build together, evaluate what we’re doing, and take turns adding value.
With this list of things we do, we need to find ways to support them, across both formal and informal learning. In formal learning, we should be presenting meaningful and authentic tasks, and asking learners to solve them, ideally collaboratively. While individual is better than none, collaborative allows opportunity for meaning negotiation. We need to allow failure, and support learning from it. We need to be able to ask questions, and make decisions and see the consequences.
Similarly in informal learning, we need to create ways for people to develop their understandings, work together, to put out opinions and get feedback, ask for help, and find people to use as models. By using tools like blogs for recording and sharing personal learning and information updates, wikis to collaborate, discussion forums to converse, and blogs and microblogs to track what others think are important, we provide ways to naturally learn together.
Recognize that I’m taking the larger definition of learning here. I do not mean just courses, though they’re part of it. However, real learning involves research, design, problem-solving, creativity, innovation, experimentation, etc. We absolutely have to get our and the organization’s mind around this if we’re going to be effective. So, look to natural learning to guide your role in facilitating organizational learning.