Jay Cross
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Informal, connected, learning 2.0
Friday, November 04, 2005
Today Stephen Downes, George Siemens, and I had an hour-long dialog about the future of learning. You can hear it via Breeze.


Blogger David Wilson said...

Thanks Jay. Interesting conversation - although a little challenging with Stephen's mega-watt PA powered voice level. Maybe it wasn't so challenging for you, but I kept leaping for the volume every time the speaker changed!

Regarding the content, and focusing on the application of the ideas discussed in a corporate context, I feel that corporate reality requires us to overlay a series of models on what corporate learning means, and to who it means it. A networked model of learning is a model, just like a hierarchical model is, and they each have strengths and weaknesses. Corporate hierarchical learning control may have historically been driven by the ways that learning functions could think and operate, but in reality now, they are even more driven by external commercial realities - not just pursuit of profit and efficiency, but more importantly, now by corporate governance, compliance and risk mitigation. Basically we live in an increasingly regulated, increasingly litigious world where corporates are called to account for how their people are "trained" to be fit to their jobs. We need to understand rather than ignore these forces that are imposing greater structure and hiearchy to learning, rather than ignoring them.

That however doesn't negate or remove the power of network, connection and informal learning that you have been discussing. From a learner's perspective, their is value in the hierarchical overlay because it is their compliance with it that keeps them employed and able to do their job (and therefore eligible to be able to advance in their job). But the hierarchical view constrains rather than enables them too. Their personal opportunity is much better served by leveraging informal learning, personal networks and so on. I believe that is often why the most successful individuals are often the ones that are best able to leverage informal networks for learning and influence. These are the ones that rapidly learn to work around and outside the formal hierarchical systems of learning and work, as well as (this is key), ensuring they also fulfil the needs of the formal hierarchy.

I therefore think we need to find a synthesis of network and hierarchy that liberates learners and their corporate employers.


3:32 AM  

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