I stumbled across the term Heutology, which is a word coined to talk about self-directed learning. It’s very similar to the ideas Jay Cross talks about for informal learning, but it is proposed as a successor to Malcolm Knowles Andragogy, wherein the role of the instructor is lost. I’ve argued that you can’t take self-directed learning capability for granted, as you can’t assume everyone’s developed the skills. And even then, you may need help.
For instance, even though I think of myself as a fairly capable self-learner, I need help on getting past my self-marketing barriers, and have been involved in one of Robert Middleton‘s Marketing Action Groups. A great resource for guidance on marketing yourself as an independent professional.
But I was reflecting on reflection as a critical tool of meta-learning or learning to learn. We don’t do enough of it, generally, though those I see as highly successful usually have a reflection process built into their lifestyles. Organizations say there isn’t enough time for reflection, we have to do, yet reflection is one of they keys to learning, and learning will be the key to ongoing creativity and innovation that will be differentiator for success going forward.
On a more practical note, I’ve been thinking about reflection as a part of our learning design. Of course we provide feedback, and we often have ‘thought questions’, but I’m convincing myself that we don’t do enough. I’ve started ending the scenarios I develop with a series of thought questions (credits to Deborah Zimmerman, of Agile Mind, who first tossed this into a scenario we developed on nursing) to generalize the learning. In scenarios you can only present so many contexts, and for transfer to broader contexts you can ask questions like:
- “How would that play out in a different situation?”
- “What would this look like in your own work situation?”
- “Can you hear this in your own life?”
I’d like to suggest that you consider wrapping up any learning content with some reflection questions before you close the experience, as a practical step. And find time to reflect in your own life, becoming clear about what you’re looking for.