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

27 June 2017

FocusOn Learning reflections

Clark @ 8:08 am

If you follow this blog (and you should :), it was pretty obvious that I was at the FocusOn Learning conference in San Diego last week (previous 2 posts were mindmaps of the keynotes). And it was fun as always.  Here are my reflections on what happened a bit more, as an exercise in meta-learning.

There were three themes to the conference: mobile, games, and video.  I’m pretty active in the first two (two books on the former, one on the latter), and the last is related to things I care and talk about.  The focus led to some interesting outcomes: some folks were very interested in just one of the topics, while others were looking a bit more broadly.  Whether that’s good or not depends on your perspective, I guess.

Mobile was present, happily, and continues to evolve.  People are still talking about courses on a phone, but more folks were talking about extending the learning.  Some of it was pretty dumb – just content or flash cards as learning augmentation – but there were interesting applications. Importantly, there was a growing awareness about performance support as a sensible approach.  It’s nice to see the field mature.

For games, there were positive and negative signs.  The good news is that games are being more fully understood in terms of their role in learning, e.g. deep practice.  The bad news is that there’s still a lot of interest in gamification without a concomitant awareness of the important distinctions. Tarting up drill-and-kill with PBL (points, badges, and leaderboards; the new acronym apparently) isn’t worth significant interest!  We know how to drill things that must be, but our focus should be on intrinsic interest.

As a side note, the demise of Flash has left us without a good game development environment. Flash is both a development environment and a delivery platform. As a development environment Flash had a low learning threshold, and yet could be used to build complex games.  As a delivery platform, however, it’s woefully insecure (so much so that it’s been proscribed in most browsers). The fact that Adobe couldn’t be bothered to generate acceptable HTML5 out of the development environment, and let it languish, leaves the market open for another accessible tool. And Unity or Unreal provide good support (as I understand it), but still require coding.  So we’re not at an easily accessible place. Oh, for HyperCard!

Most of the video interest was either in technical issues (how to get quality and/or on the cheap), but a lot of interest was also in interactive video. I think branching video is a real powerful learning environment for contextualized decision making.  As a consequence the advent of tools that make it easier is to be lauded. An interesting session with the wise Joe Ganci (@elearningjoe) and a GoAnimate guy talked about when to use video versus animation, which largely seemed to reflect my view (confirmation bias ;) that it’s about whether you want more context (video) or concept (animation). Of course, it was also about the cost of production and the need for fidelity (video more than animation in both cases).

There was a lot of interest in VR, which crossed over between video and games.  Which is interesting because it’s not inherently tied to games or video!  In short, it’s a delivery technology.  You can do branching scenarios, full game engine delivery, or just video in VR. The visuals can be generated as video or from digital models. There was some awareness, e.g. fun was made of the idea of presenting powerpoint in VR (just like 2nd Life ;).

I did an ecosystem presentation that contextualized all three (video, games, mobile) in the bigger picture, and also drew upon their cognitive and then L&D roles. I also deconstructed the game Fluxx (a really fun game with an interesting ‘twist’). Overall, it was a good conference (and nice to be in San Diego, one of my ‘homes’).

21 June 2017

Nathalie Nahai #FocusOnLearn Keynote Mindmap

Clark @ 9:49 am

Nathalie Nahai opened the second day of the FocuOn Learning conference. In a rapid fire presentation, she covered 7 principles that engage individuals into behaviors. With clear examples from familiar online experiences, she portrayed how these things work. Admirably, she finished with a call to ethical behavior.

Keynote mindmap

20 June 2017

Liza Donnelly #FocusOnLearn Keynote Mindmap

Clark @ 9:30 am

Liza Donnelly opened the FocusOn Learn conference with stories from her career as a cartoonist. With a very personal and compelling story illustrated by her cartoons and some live drawing, she unpacked creativity and innovation. With lessons about commitment and meaning, it was a really nice kickoff to the event.

Keynote Mindmap

31 May 2017

A learning meta-story

Clark @ 8:03 am

Been thinking about how to generate meaningful learning in optimal (read: concise but effective) ways. And a lot of what I’ve been thinking about involves contextualized meaningful practice (no surprise there, eh?).  So how might this play out?  Thought I’d use a story to convey the experience I’m thinking of:

Pat logs on to the system, and notes that it’s time to take a crack at the next assignment.  In it is a setup with a role for Pat to play.  The story details a business situation: the organization, it’s current status, and a situation that’s occurred that requires an action.  The details are exaggerated, so it’s a dire situation with a lot riding on the outcome. The instructions are phrased in the form of an email directly from the CEO, with pointers to some folks to talk to for assistance.

The necessity is for Pat to create a plan to address the need.  In this case, it’s a marketing plan for a new product that has been the focus of most of the organization’s effort.  With old products facing receding sales, this product has to succeed.  The existing plan, legacy of a departed individual, is ‘old school’ and an up-to-date approach is needed.  The indicated need is heavily aligned with this week’s topic of social-media marketing.

Pat starts work to create a document to send to the CEO. This includes making ‘calls’ (viewing videos of quick messages from the various roles involved including the product manager, the financial officer) to find out the parameters which are in play and to get expert knowledge.  There are also some marketing materials available. 

In previous assignments there were support tools about creating documents and about marketing plans, but this time such support isn’t available.  Pat realizes that this being a more advanced cut through the topic, it’s time to start taking ownership of the process.  The CEO has asked for an interim plan report before creating the entire marketing plan, and Pat uses previous materials and adapts them to create the  plan.

Pat will get feedback from the CEO to incorporate in the plan before putting together the final submission.  Ultimately, the success of the plan will be presented, and then feedback on the details of Pat’s submission.  The document creation will be evaluated separately and in the context of previous documents required across this particular topic and previous ones, while the marketing plan itself will be evaluated in terms of it’s response to the context. 

Several things to note here. The contextualized performance requirement isn’t unique, of course.  This very much draws upon similar work seen in Roger Schank’s Story-Centered Curriculum and Goal-Based Scenarios. It differs in that subsequent assignments might use totally separate story settings.  It’s similar also to work like Bransford, et al’s Anchored Instruction.  The notion of embedding performance in context reflects research that shows abstract instruction doesn’t transfer as well. My own proposal (research, anyone?) is that the story should complete before the conceptual feedback is presented, or indeed that the story outcome includes the conceptual feedback in an intrinsic way.

The second important thing is that the document creation details are assessed separately, and tracked across other such assignments that might appear anywhere. The point is to develop meta-skills like digital document creation (and others such as presentations, working in groups, research, etc) as well as the domain skills.

I believe that we need learners to create complex work products that are challenging to auto-mark, because the outcomes are necessary.  This means that you need people in the learning loop; totally asynchronous isn’t going to work to develop rich capabilities. I’m trying to figure out ways to approximate that with as little human intervention as possible because pragmatically we have more learning to achieve than we have resources to achieve that (at least until we get our priorities right ;).

 

24 May 2017

Grappling with Groups

Clark @ 8:03 am

I’m a fan of the power of social learning. When people get together (and the process is managed right), the outcomes of a negotiated understanding can be powerful.  However, in designing learning, working in groups has some real negative perceptions and realities. The open question is: what to do?

The problems are well-known. As my kids complained, on group projects some team members will reliably slack, letting the most driven student do the work.  Even with a commitment, there can be differences in working style: getting started early versus preferring to do it under pressure.

Some things have been tried. When I assigned group projects, I told my students I expected them to do equal work, and would grade accordingly. If it didn’t end up being the case, they were to each write up a report on what each team member did, including themselves. Others require this, regardless, and that sounds like a smart way to make concrete a requirement for contribution.

One thing to be addressed is invigilation. Is the work being tracked in any way?  If they’re working in a collaborative environment that tracks contributions via versioning or some other way, then there’s a trail of work that can be scrutinized. Extra work, to be sure, but it’d serve as a tie-breaker if there was some question about contribution.

Another issue is support for working in groups. When I first assigned group work, it became clear that they didn’t know how (?!?!).  So I wrote up a little guide to doing group work, and those problems subsided.  Working together is a skill that shouldn’t be taken for granted. There should be some explicit statement of expectations if you can’t determine whether there’s reliable prior experience. (Certainly, it seems that the teachers weren’t providing guidance or oversight, in the case of my kids.)

As an aside: make sure the students know why you’re asking them to work in groups. I’ve learned that learners will be much more willing to undertake what you assign if you explain the rationale that justifies your choice!

Then there’s them question of just when group work makes sense. Given that the value-added benefit is the negotiated understanding, it would make sense to do that when the material is complex, and there’s a risk of an individual taking a unique, incomplete, and or imperfect understanding. At times when you want to assess an individual’s ability to deliver, you wouldn’t want a group project!

There’s also the issue of the nature of the task.  Are you just having them come to a shared understanding in representing their thinking (e.g. a response to a question) or actually produce a work product of some sort (a video, presentation, report, etc).  If you can get what you need with less effort, you shouldn’t assign a more complex project.

Which brings up the issue of the scope of the work. I would expect that the more imposing the total amount of work is, the more it would invoke those with time or effort concerns to be lulled to the lazy side.  Keeping the scope small might contribute to a greater willingness to participate.

Breaking up the deliverables is one way to manage student effort. If you have interim deliverables, it helps manage the process and the time.  Certainly, early in a curriculum, you could provide this scaffolding (and make it explicit), and then gradually hand off responsibility for the learners to internalize the self-management. (Meta-learning!)

Breaking it up can also manage to address the contribution. If individual submissions are required before group ones, you can at least have the learners having had to contribute thought before sharing and creating a greater understanding.

Finally, there’s the issue of group work in an independent schedule. In a cohort model (scheduled timetable) it’s easy, but otherwise, how do you do it?  If there’s ‘critical mass’, you can have learners arrange to meet with anyone available. If there’re more, you could even have them indicate working style preferences: quick, early, what media channels. Otherwise, it’s more challenging (or a non-issue, just don’t do it).

There are lots of issues and potential solutions for addressing group work.  I can’t say I’ve found an easy solution, despite having wrestled with it. I think it’s important, so I’m curious what you’ve tried and found out!

2 May 2017

To show or not to show (and when)

Clark @ 8:04 am

At an event the other evening, showing various career technology tools, someone said something that I thought was just wrong. I asked afterwards, and then explained why I thought it was wrong. The response was “well, there can be different ways to go about it”. And frankly, there really can’t.  Think for yourself about why I might say so, and then let me show you why.

The trigger was a design program talking about their design courses. And the representative was saying that once a learner had created a project, it was shown to everybody. Which sounds good, since ‘sharing is caring’, or at least it’s a good example of working out loud. And, in general, this is a good idea. But I think it’s not in learning.

In brainstorming (e.g. informal learning), we know that sharing before others have had their chance to think, it can color their output. This limits the exploration of the total possible space of opportunities that would come from a diverse team. Hearing another response likely will limit that spaces that might get explored. Instead, the goal is to diverge before converging.

And so, too, in learning. I’ve argued for assignment submission systems that only allow you to see the other submissions once you’ve submitted your own. Until you’ve struggled yourself with the challenge, you won’t  get the most out of seeing how others have solved the situation.

If you immediately share the first submission, it may affect those who aren’t that far along yet. Some may even end up holding off to see what others do! This undermines the integrity of the assignment. One explanation that was given was to provide guidance to others, but that, to me, is the role of the assignment specification.

There is, however, real value in seeing the other submissions once you’ve completed yours. Seeing other approaches helps broaden the understanding. Better yet is to have discussion on them, as when critiquing others (constructively) you internalize the monitoring. This discussion also provides the opportunity to experiment with working out loud that eventually develops good working habits.

(I’ve similarly argued, by the way, that ‘rollover’ questions -where the answer is shown once you move your pointer over the question- don’t lead to any meaningful learning. If you haven’t made the mental effort to commit to a response, it won’t stick as well.)

So I believe that, if you’re developing people’s ability to do, you have a responsibility to do so in the most advantageous way. That includes making effort to use the best approach to sharing assignments. I was surprised (and dismayed) to see someone arguing to the contrary! I implore you to do the details on the approaches you work, for your learners’, and the learning’s, sake.

27 April 2017

Innovation Thoughts

Clark @ 8:10 am

So I presented on innovation to the local ATD chapter a few weeks ago, and they did an interesting and nice thing: they got the attendees to document their takeaways. And I promised to write a blog post about it, and I’ve finally received the list of thoughts, so here are my reflections.  As an aside, I’ve written separate articles on L&D innovation recently for both CLO magazine and the Litmos blog so you can check those out, too.

I started talking about why innovation was needed, and then what it was.  They recalled that I pointed out that by definition an innovation is not only a new idea, but one that is implemented and leads to better results.  I made the point that when you’re innovating, designing, researching, trouble-shooting, etc, you don’t know the answer when you start, so they’re learning situations, though informal, not formal.  And they heard me note that agility and adaptation are premised on informal learning of this sort, and that the opportunity is for L&D to take up the mantle to meed the increasing need.

There was interest but some lack of clarity around meta-learning. I emphasize that learning to learn may be your best investment, but given that you’re devolving responsibility you shouldn’t assume that individuals are automatically possessed of optimal learning skills. The focus then becomes developing learning to learn skills, which of needs is done across some other topic. And, of course, it requires the right culture.

There were some terms they heard that they weren’t necessarily clear on, so per the request, here are the terms (from them) and my definition:

  • Innovation by Design: here I mean deliberately creating an environment where innovation can flourish. You can’t plan for innovation, it’s ephemeral, but you can certainly create a felicitous environment.
  • Adjacent Possible: this is a term Steven Johnson used in his book Where Good Ideas Come From, and my take is that it means that lateral inspiration (e.g. ideas from nearby: related fields or technologies) is where innovation happens, but it takes exposure to those ideas.
  • Positive Deviance: the idea (which I heard of from Jane Bozarth) is that the best way to find good ideas is to find people who are excelling and figure out what they’re doing differently.
  • Hierarchy and Equality: I’m not quite sure what they were referring to hear (I think more along the lines of Husband’s Wirearchy versus hierarchy) but the point is to reduce the levels and start tapping into the contributions possible from all.
  • Assigned roles and vulnerability: I’m even less certain what’s being referred to here (I can’t be responsible for everything people take away ;), but I could interpret this to mean that it’s hard to be safe to contribute if you’re in a hierarchy and are commenting on someone above  you.  Which again is an issue of safety (which is why I advocate that leaders ‘work out loud’, and it’s a core element of Edmondson’s Teaming; see below).

I used the Learning Organization Dimensions diagram (Garvin, Edmondson & Gino)  to illustrate the components of successful innovation environment, and these were reflected in their comments. A number mentioned  psychological safety in particular as well as  the other elements of the learning environment. They also picked up on the importance of leadership.

Some other notes that they picked up on included:

  • best principles instead of best practices
  • change is facilitated when the affected individual choose to change
  • brainstorming needs individual work before collective work
  • that trust is required to devolve responsibility
  • the importance of coping with ambiguity

One that was provided that I know I didn’t say because I don’t believe it, but is interesting as a comment:

“Belonging trumps diversity, and security trumps grit”

This is an interesting belief, and I think that’s likely the case if it’s not safe to experiment and make mistakes.

They recalled some of the books I mentioned, so here’s the list:

  • The Invisible Computer by Don Norman
  • The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
  • My Revolutionize Learning and Development (of course ;)
  • XLR8 by John Kotter (with the ‘dual operating system‘ hypothesis)
  • Teaming to Innovate by Amy Edmondson (I reviewed it)
  • Working Out Loud by John Stepper
  • Scaling Up Excellence by Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao (blogged)
  • Organize for Complexity by Niels Pflaeging (though they heard this as a concept, not a title)

It was a great evening, and really rewarding to see that many of the messages stuck. So, what are your thought around innovation?

 

26 April 2017

Human Learning is Not About to Change Forever

Clark @ 8:09 am

In my inbox was an announcement about a new white paper with the intriguing title Human Learning is About to Change Forever. So naturally I gave up my personal details to download a copy.  There are nine claims in the paper, from the obvious to the ridiculous. So I thought I’d have some fun.

First, let’s get clear.  Our learning runs on our brain, our wetware. And that’s not changing in any fundamental way in the near future. As a famous article once had it: phenotypic plasticity triumphs over genotypic plasticity (in short, our human advantage has gained  via our ability to adapt individually and learn from each other, not through species evolution).   The latter takes a long time!

And as a starting premise, the “about to” bit implies these things are around the corner, so that’s going to be a bit of my critique. But nowhere near all of it.  So here’s a digest of the nine claims and my comments:

  1. Enhanced reality tools will transform the learning environment. Well, these tools will certainly augment the learning environment (pun intended :). There’s evidence that VR leads to better learning outcomes, and I have high hopes for AR, too. Though is that a really fundamental transition? We’ve had VR and virtual worlds for over a decade at least.  And is VR a evolutionary or revolutionary change from simulations? Then they go on to talk about performance support. Is that transforming learning? I’m on record saying contextualized learning (e.g. AR) is the real opportunity to do something interesting, and I’ll buy it, but we’re a long way away. I’m all for AR and VR, but saying that it puts learning in the hands of the students is a design issue, not a technology issue.
  2. People will learn collaboratively, no matter where they are.  Um, yes, and…?  They’re already doing this, and we’ve been social learners for as long as we’ve existed. The possibilities in virtual worlds to collaboratively create in 3D I still think is potentially cool, but even as the technology limitations come down, the cognitive limitations remain. I’m big on social learning, but mediating it through technology strikes me as just a natural step, not transformation.
  3. AI will banish intellectual tedium. Everything is awesome. Now we’re getting a wee bit hypish. The fact that software can parse text and create questions is pretty impressive. And questions about semantic knowledge isn’t going to transform education. Whether the questions are developed by hand, or by machine, questions are not intrinsically interesting. And AI is not yet to the level (nor will it be soon) where it can take content and create compelling activities that will drive learners to apply knowledge and make it meaningful.
  4. We will maximize our mental potential with wearables and neural implants. Ok, now we’re getting confused and a wee bit silly. Wearables are cool, and in cases where they can sense things about you and the world means they can start doing some very interesting AR. But transformative? This still seems like a push.  And neural implants?  I don’t like surgery, and messing with my nervous system when you still don’t really understand it? No thanks. There’s a lot more to it than managing to control firing to control limbs. The issue is semantics: if we’re not getting meaning, it’s not really fundamental. And given that our conscious representations are scattered across our cortex in rich patterns, this just isn’t happening soon (nor do I want that much connection; I don’t trust them not to ‘muck about’).
  5. Learning will be radically personalized.  Don’t you just love the use of superlatives? This is in the realm of plausible, but as I mentioned before, it’s not worth it until we’re doing it on top of good design.  Again, putting together wearables (read: context sensing) and personalization will lead to the ability to do transformative AR, but we’ll need a new design approach, more advanced sensors, and a lot more backend architecture and semantic work than we’re yet ready to apply.
  6. Grades and brand-name schools won’t matter for employment.  Sure, that MIT degree is worthless! Ok, so there’s some movement this way.  That will actually be a nice state of affairs. It’d be good if we started focusing on competencies, and build new brand names around real enablement. I’m not optimistic about the prospects, however. Look at how hard it is to change K12 education (the gap between what’s known and what’s practiced hasn’t significantly diminished in the past decades). Market forces may change it, but the brand names will adapt too, once it becomes an economic necessity.
  7. Supplements will improve our mental performance.  Drink this and you’ll fly! Yeah, or crash. There are ways I want to play with my brain chemistry, and ways I don’t. As an adult!  I really don’t want us playing with children, risking potential long-term damage, until we have a solid basis.  We’ve had chemicals support performance for a while (see military use), but we’re still in the infancy, and here I’m not sure our experiments with neurochemicals can surpass what evolution has given us, at least not without some pretty solid understanding.  This seems like long-term research, not near-term plausibility.
  8. Gene editing will give us better brains.  It’s alive!  Yes, Frankenstein’s monster comes to mind here. I do believe it’s possible that we’ll be able to outdo evolution eventually, but I reckon there’s still not everything known about the human genome or the human brain. This similarly strikes me as a valuable long term research area, but in the short term there are so many interesting gene interactions we don’t yet understand, I’d hate to risk the possible side-effects.
  9. We won’t have to learn: we’ll upload and download knowledge. Yeah, it’ll be great!  See my comments above on neural implants: this isn’t yet ready for primetime.  More importantly, this is supremely dangerous. Do I trust what you say you’re making available for download?  Certainly not the case now with many things, including advertisements. Think about downloading to your computer: not just spam ads, but viruses and malware.  No thank you!  Not that I think it’s close, but I’m not convinced we can ‘upgrade our operating system’ anyway. Given the way that our knowledge is distributed, the notion of changing it with anything less than practice seems implausible.

Overall, this is reads like more a sci-fi fan’s dreams than a realistic assessment of what we should be preparing for.  No, human learning isn’t going to change forever.  The ways we learn, e.g. the tools we learn with are changing, and we’re rediscovering how we really learn.

There are better guides available to what’s coming in the near term that we should prepare for.  Again, we need to focus on good learning design, and leveraging technology in ways that align with how our brains work, not trying to meld the two.  So, there’re my opinions, I welcome yours.

19 April 2017

Top 10 Tools for @C4LPT 2017

Clark @ 8:06 am

Jane Hart is running her annual Top 100 Tools for Learning poll (you can vote too), and here’s my contribution for this year.  These are my personal learning tools, and are ordered according to Harold Jarche’s Seek-Sense-Share models, as ways to find answers, to process them, and to share for feedback:

  1. Google Search is my go-to tool when I come across something I haven’t heard of. I typically will choose the Wikipedia link if there is one, but also will typically open several other links and peruse across them to generate a broader perspective.
  2. I use GoodReader on my iPad to read PDFs and mark up journal submissions.  It’s handy for reading when I travel.
  3. Twitter is one of several ways I keep track of what people are thinking about and looking at. I need to trim my list again, as it’s gotten pretty long, but I keep reminding myself it’s drinking from the firehose, not full consumption!  Of course, I share things there too.
  4. LinkedIn is another tool I use to see what’s happening (and occasionally engage in). I have a group for the Revolution, which largely is me posting things but I do try to stir up conversations.  I also see and occasionally comment on posting by others.
  5. Skype let’s me stay in touch with my ITA colleagues, hence it’s definitely a learning tool. I also use it occasionally to have conversations with folks.
  6. Slack is another tool I use with some groups to stay in touch. People share there, which makes it useful.
  7. OmniGraffle is my diagramming tool, and diagramming is a way I play with representing my understandings. I will put down some concepts in shapes, connect them, and tweak until I think I’ve captured what I believe. I also use it to mindmap keynotes.
  8. Word is a tool I use to play with words as another way to explore my thinking. I use outlines heavily and I haven’t found a better way to switch between outlines and prose. This is where things like articles, chapters, and books come from. At least until I find a better tool (haven’t really got my mind around Scrivener’s organization, though I’ve tried).
  9. WordPress is my blogging tool (what I’m using here), and serves both as a thinking tool (if I write it out, it forces me to process it), but it’s also a share tool (obviously).
  10. Keynote is my presentation tool. It’s where I’ll noodle out ways to share my thinking. My presentations may get rendered to Powerpoint eventually out of necessity, but it’s my creation and preferred presentation tool.

Those are my tools, now what are yours?  Use the link to let Jane know, her collection and analysis of the tools is always interesting.

18 April 2017

What you learn not as important as how you learn!

Clark @ 8:09 am

I’m going a bit out on a limb here, with a somewhat heretical statement: what you learn is more important than how you learn!  (You could say pedagogy supersedes curricula, but that’s just being pedantic. ;) And I’m pushing the boundaries of the concept a bit, but I think it’s worth floating as an idea. It’s meta-learning, of course, learning how to learn!   The important point is to focus on what’s being developed.  And I mean this at two levels.

This was triggered by seeing two separate announcements of new learning opportunities.  Both are focused on current skills, so both are focusing on advanced curricula, things that are modern. While the pedagogy of one isn’t obvious (though claimed to be very practical), the other clearly touts the ways in which the learning happens. And it’s good.

So the pedagogy is very hands on. In fact, it’s an activity-based curricula (in my terms), in that you progress by completing assignments very closely tied to what you’ll do on the job. There are content resources available (e.g. expert videos) and instructor feedback, all set in a story.  And this is better than a content-based curricula, so this pedagogy is really very apt for preparing people to do jobs.  In fact, they are currently applying it across three different roles that they have determined are necessary.

But if you listen to the longer version (video) of my activity-based learning curricula story, you’ll see I carry the pedagogy forward. I talk about handing over responsibility to the learner, gradually, to take responsibility for the activities, content, product, and reflection.  This is important for learners to start becoming self-improving learners.  The point is to develop their ability to do meta-learning.

To do so, by the way, requires that you make your pedagogy visible for the choices that you made, and why.  Learners, to adopt their own pedagogy, need to see a pedagogy. If you narrate your pedagogy, that is document your alternatives and rationales of choices, they can actually understand more about the learning process itself.

And this, to me, is the essence of the claim. If you start a learning process about something, and then hand off responsibility for the learning, while making clear the choices that led there, learners become self-learners. The courses that are designed in the above two cases will, of necessity, change. And graduates from those courses might be out of date before long, unless they’ve learned how to stay current. Unless they’ve learned meta-learning. That can be added in, and it may be implicit, but I’ll suggest that learning to learn is a more valuable long-term outcome than the immediate employability.

So that’s my claim: in the long term, the learner (and society) will be better off if the learner can learn to self-improve.  It’s not an immediate claim or benefit, but it can be wrapped around something that is of immediate benefit.  It’s the ‘secret sauce’ that organizations could be adding in, whether internally or in their offerings. What surprises me is how seldom I see this approach taken, or even discussed.

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