Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

20 May 2009

Mapping the learning space

Clark @ 2:14 PM

In trialing a mind-mapping tool on my iPhone, I started mapping the ‘performance ecosystem’ space. I carried it over to my desktop tool (not literally, the free version doesn’t seem to export), and started elaborating.  I got to this point, and think it’s not too bad a top-level cut, with the caveats that a) each of those nodes unpacks even further, let alone each leaf, and b) that I haven’t even tried to capture the cross links, e.g. between performance support and mobile, between mobile and content model, etc.


Here’s the same as an outline (ok, Stephen? :):

Learning Architecture
❑    Performance Support
▼❑    Job Aids
•    ❑    Information Design
▼❑    Portals
•    ❑    Information Architecture
▼❑    Interactives
•    ❑    EPSS

❑    Formal
▼❑    Delivery
•    ❑    F2F
•    ❑    Synch
•    ❑    Asynch
▼❑    Deeper ID
•    ❑    Emotional
•    ❑    Cognitive

❑    Social Learning
▼❑    Identify
•    ❑    Profile
▼❑    Chat
•    ❑    Microblog
•    ❑    IM
▼❑    Journal
•    ❑    Blog
▼❑    Discuss
•    ❑    Forums
▼❑    Collab
•    ❑    Wikis

❑    Integrated Architecture
▼❑    Content Model
•    ❑    Semantics
▼❑    Governance
•    ❑    Lifecycle
▼❑    Systems
•    ❑    KM
•    ❑    LMS
•    ❑    CMS

❑    Mobile
▼❑    Access
▼❑    Designed
▼❑    Contextualized

❑    Concepts
▼❑    Culture
•    ❑    Leadership
•    ❑    Processes & Policies
•    ❑    Supportive Environment
▼❑    Expertise
•    ❑    Levels
•    ❑    Development
▼❑    Meta-learning
•    ❑    Skills
•    ❑    Awareness

Definitely a ‘learning out loud’ work-in-progress.  Feedback welcome!


  1. Nice hierarchy, Clark, but then you always make great conceptualizations. The colors add to the organization. I’m puzzling why you have Emotional under Deep ID and Semantics under Content Model. They don’t fit in my schema, but you could be using those terms differently than I would.

    Comment by Jean Marrapodi — 20 May 2009 @ 5:00 PM

  2. I like it (as I usually do re your stuff). Will steal for R&D (rip off and deploy) purposes with no attribution, of course.

    Just kidding.

    Comment by Stacy Doolittle — 20 May 2009 @ 5:25 PM

  3. Looking great, Clark. I’ll dig out my map to see where things line up. One thought right off the bat though is that there’s a formal resource channel within social that can add alot of value.

    One example is ‘mentor-on-demand’. Let’s say you are planning your career path in an organization and you’re pretty sure you have it nailed down to one or two potential choices for professional development, but you would really like to reach out to someone in your organization’s KM network (the real value in KM in my opinion – knowing who contains what and how accessible the ‘what’ is) to get some down and dirty. It’s a formally available channel, in that your organization supports designation and tracking of experts. Even if it’s not a formal engagement process or lacks evaluation hooks.

    Another example is Blog implementation. In organizations like mine the authorative blogs are supposed to be there to grant transparency to process and activities otherwise impossible. It’s not news, it’s not personal publishing, it’s not informal… it’s a formalized social medium.

    I like how you broke Culture and Integrated Architecture off as separate branches. Lot’s of intersection points across the map. Some stronger than others (especially from organization to organization).

    Comment by sflowers — 20 May 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  4. Clark – Love this first take on this map – I find many pieces of it right on. Love that performance support got its own section of the tree.

    Comment by Mark Friedman — 23 May 2009 @ 6:19 PM

  5. Hi Clark –

    Thanks for learning out loud and sharing your mind map. Here are some of my learning out loud comments. I understand the pieces but am a little confused with the larger view point. From what perspective is this model? You started mapping the “performance ecosystem” space but use learning architecture as the center. Are these mediums and concepts that support learning? Is this from a learning professional’s view point or a workers viewpoint?

    Where does experiential fit in? For example: I have a new job or assignment and I am learning as I work. I am figuring things out, making mistakes, adjusting to be more effective, etc.

    Systems – would you include Performance Management Systems (e.g., systems that tie together job assignments, competencies, career goals, etc) in this category? If this is performance ecosystem, it feels like something similar to this should be included.

    Concepts/Expertise – how about certification and licensing?

    Social Learning – what about finding people with the knowledge that you are seeking? Is this included within social learning already?

    I realize that this is in draft and that many of the pieces still need to be unpacked. I just wanted to share my thoughts. Nice model!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Comment by Dennis Callahan — 26 May 2009 @ 6:49 AM

  6. Thanks for the great feedback!

    Jean, I have emotional under deeper ID because I think we need to include motivational (e.g. Keller’s ARCS model) in our formal learning design. Semantics is Web 3.0, in my book, and is about infrastructure work, part of developing our content model.

    Steve, you’re right, there are a lot of cross-linkages not covered, but there’s definitely an overlap between formal & social, also between performance support and formal, and social and performance support. And, yes it varies by org but my point is to try to tie it together into a more coherent whole, and by putting it together in a diagram we can start thinking about it more systematically and comprehensively.

    Dennis, good questions. Learning architecture is the center because I’m trying to include innovation, performance support, problem-solving, collaboration, formal, etc into a broader picture of learning that the organization should be trying to support. It’s arguing that from the worker’s viewpoint, all these activities are goal oriented, and that the learning professional’s viewpoint should be similarly broad. To me, the worker’s experience is across this, they’re pulling from what’s available, but also being supported. And as Steve pointed out, I don’t have mentoring explicitly, that’s a cross linkage (it’s a ball, and there are many ways to flatten it out.

    I hadn’t thought about it specifically, but I’d put Performance Management Systems into the Integrated Architecture place as infrastructure systems. There are so many different combinations of systems it’s hard to categorize them all. Similarly Certification and Licensing, that’s part of formal, in my mind. E.g. I don’t have assessment explicitly here, but I’d probably put it under Deeper ID in *this* cut.

    Greatly appreciate the questions, comments, helping me evolve this.

    Comment by Clark — 26 May 2009 @ 8:22 AM

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