The co-creation of meaning in social learning: adapting our view of learning

One of the strongest ideas i’ve taken out of my research into music in learning is that of co-creation: the ways that we work together, taking specialist roles and consulting within our community (be it a learning group or band) to create a shared narrative. You can read some of my initial thoughts here, in an article about seven key strands of co-creation.

Today, i just want to think about how organisations may need to adapt their thinking about learning to cater for the process and outputs of co-creation, a world where the achievements of an individual may come through the shared efforts of a group.

Often our training and assessment methodologies are focused on the role and achievements of the individual. Adoption of social learning approaches is changing this, although the change needs to be widespread: it needs to recognise that personal performance will be based increasingly upon one’s ability to work with groups, to leverage value through our social capital and relationships. The older models, whereby assessment measured more ‘what you know’ than ‘what you can achieve’ may be outdated.

Any approach that fundamentally functions on performance of the individual may need to be triangulated with performance of the group and also performance of the business. We may need to try and iron out the creases in our methodology.

Social learning differs from formal, classroom based training, or formal e-learning, in that the meaning is created within the group. Meaning is emergent, not formal and controlled, not injected into the participants. In formal learning, the messaging is owned by the organisation, whilst in social learning the conversation is owned by the group and the organisation may be part of it.

Our communities of practice are likely to be the first places that we turn to for performance support and those communities will likely transcend the physical boundaries of the organisation. In the Social Age, our learning networks spread far and wide, and, within the constraints of client confidentiality, may well contribute to our success on specific projects. They may also form part of our assessment and feedback loops, certainly part of our coaching mindset. The notion of an organisation being a set number of people within four walls doing one thing is outdated. We have core teams, associates and our social learning communities, all contributing to our ultimate success.

We turn to these communities for support and for challenge, they form an integral part of learning, not an addendum to it. Organisations need to move beyond the formal view of learning, the notion that it takes place in classrooms and on your office laptop. In the twenty first century, we have transcended the classroom towards a more social model: our relationship with knowledge is changing, it’s our ability to create meaning rapidly that counts.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Adaptability, Agile, Assessment, Blended Learning, Challenge, Collaboration, Communication, Community, Community of Practice, Control, Conversation, Culture, Dialogue, E-Learning, Education, Effectiveness, Informal Spaces, Instructional Design, Knowledge, Learning, Learning Design, Meaning, Social Capital, Social Learning and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to The co-creation of meaning in social learning: adapting our view of learning

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