I had the good fortune to be invited to the Future of Work event that was held here in Silicon Valley two weeks ago, and there were four breakouts, one of which was on learning and knowledge management. You can guess which one I was on (though tempted by the leadership and culture one; there was overlap).
Within that breakout the activity was to pick four topics and further break out. The issue was meeting workplace needs given the changing nature of work, and I suggested that perhaps the biggest need was to focus on skills that held true across domain, so called meta-cognitive skills, and learning to learn (a total surprise, right?). That was one that people were interested in, so that’s what we discussed.
We broke down learning into some component elements. We talked about how your beliefs about learning (your epistemological stance) mattered, as well as your intention to learn, and how effective you were at learning alone and with others. It also matters how well you use tools and external representations, as well as your persistence.
What emerged was that learning skills shouldn’t be taken for granted. And consequently, one of the attendees suggested that perhaps along with IQ and EQ, we should be looking at people’s LQ or learning quotient. I just saw an advertisement that said EQ (they called it EI Emotional Intelligence, probably to avoid trademark infringement) was better than IQ because you can improve your EQ scores. However, the evidence suggests you can improve your LQ scores too.
A decade ago now, Jay Cross and I were pushing the meta-learning lab, and I still think Jay was right claiming that meta-learning might be your best investment. So, are you aware of how you learn? Have you improved how you learn? Can you help others learn more effectively? I believe the answer is yes, and we not only can, but should.
Jesse Martin says
Following up on the work of Huff & Nietfield (2009), my lab has come up with a method of simply and accurately measuring as well as improving metacognitive awareness scores (something we are calling a metacognitive index). Given how pervasive and positive the whole concept of metacognitive awareness appears to be, this will be a welcome breakthrough in the field of study. Increasing the awareness individuals have about their own thought processes has both immediate and measurable benefits (e.g. we have established a link between metacognitive awareness and rational problem solving) we should be pushing forward in this area with significant effort. I am just finishing up an IOS and Android app that should help.
Jesse, thanks for sharing. Can you point us to some links where your work is talked about more? And is there more than awareness (valuable, of course), but meta learning or meta cog skills?