My Internet Time Alliance colleague Harold Jarche is a clever guy. In preparation for an event, he makes a blog post to organize his thoughts. I like his thinking, so I’ll let him introduce my post:
Next week, at our Working Smarter event hosted by Tulser in Maastricht, NL, we will have a series of short sessions on selected topics. Each Principal of the Internet Time Alliance has three topics of 20 minutes to be discussed in small groups. My topics are listed below and include links to relevant posts as well as a short description of the core ideas behind each topic.
These are mine:
Mobile ‘accessorizes‘ your brain. It is about complementing what your brain does well by providing the capabilities that it does not do well (rote computation, distance communication, and exact detail), but wherever and whenever you are. Given that our performers are increasingly mobile, it makes sense to deliver the capabilities where needed, not just at their desk. The 4 C’s of mobile give us a guide to the capabilities we have on tap.
Working smarter is not just mobile capabilities, however, but also combining them to do even more interesting things. The real win is when we capture the current situation, via GPS and clock/calendar, so we know where you are and what you are doing, to do things that are relevant in the context.
Even without that, however, there are big offerings on the table for informal learning, via access to resources and networks.
Social Formal Learning
Social learning is one of the big opportunities we are talking about in ‘working smarter’. Most people tend to think of social learning in terms of the informal opportunities, which are potentially huge. However, there are a couple of reasons to also think about the benefits of social learning from the formal learning perspective.
The first is the processing. When you are asked to engage with others on a topic, and you have designed the topic well, you get tight cycles of negotiating understand, which elaborates the associations to make them persist better and longer. You can have learners reflect and share those reflections, which is one meaningful form of processing, and then you can ask them to extend the relevant concepts by reviewing them in another situation together, asking them to come to a shared response. The best, of course, is when learners work together to discern how the concepts get applied in a particular context, by asking them to solve a problem together.
The additional benefit is the connection between formal and informal. You must use social learning tools, and by doing so you are developing the facility with the environment your performers should use in the workplace. You also have the opportunity to use the formal social learning as a way to introduce the learners into the communities of practice you can and should be building.
Performance Ecosystem (Workscape) Strategy
Looking at the individual components – performance support, formal learning, and informal learning – is valuable, but looking at them together is important as well, to consider the best path from where you are to where you want or need to go. Across a number of engagements, a pattern emerged that I’ve found helpful in thinking about what we term workscapes (what I’ve also called performance ecosystems, PDF) in a systemic way.
You want to end up where you have a seamless performance environment oriented around the tasks that need to be accomplished, and having the necessary layers and components. You don’t want to approach the steps individually, but with the bigger picture in mind, so everything you do is part of the path towards the end game. Realizing, of course, that it will be dynamic, and you’ll want to find ways to empower your performers to take ownership.
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