Technology may facilitate great learning, but it’s not the end in itself. What makes great learning is simple: make it great. Understand how people learn: design the learning to match that. Work with how we learn, don’t make us learn how to use the learning. We are highly plastic and fluid in our ability to learn, but that’s no excuse to make it hard.
The best learning? Purposeful, clear, includes both knowledge frameworks and the ability to weave a story around them. Learning is about creating frames and populating them. Sometimes we populate them with external knowledge, sometimes we ‘sense make‘ what goes in them, sometimes we share our experience back to the community and help them through the same process.
But what it means to you will differ from what it means to me.In the Social Age, the ways we learn have changed. Why? Because our ecosystem has evolved. The nature of work is not what it was: the notion of ‘career‘ is dead. Collaborative technology is everywhere our communities exist outside the organisation. The very things that used to be hard to find and complex are now simple and at our fingertips: the democratisation of technology, creativity and publishing. The rise of social authority and it’s ability to subvert formal hierarchy.
Technology facilitates all this, but doesn’t guarantee it: the thing you need most of all? Great learning design: a rigorous methodology.
I enjoy the Learning Technologies Conference: it brings together a wealth of things. Ideas, people, gadgets and systems. Many of them are great (in all four categories). The topics reflect the trends in our industry: ‘wearable‘, ‘cloud‘, ‘neuro‘, ‘game‘, ‘social‘, ‘story‘, ‘video‘, ‘mobile‘ and so on. But the answer does not lie in the individual sessions. Nor does it lie on the exhibition floor.
The solution to the challenge of how to create great learning lies in the mindset of those of us that visit, of those of us that work in this space. Because the best technology in the world will not guarantee great learning. The best story might.
It’s about agility: prototyping, creating space for experimentation, creating opportunities to fail, to practice, rehearse and learn. And that’s just for those of us designing the learning.
No one methodology, solution, supplier or team will solve the problems, will make the learning great. But one mindset will: the mindset of curiosity. The constantly questioning approach: why are we doing it this way? What can we do better?
So much as i’ve enjoyed the conversations, the technologies, the insights and designs, the most important thing for me will be to see how it’s translated into change. How our practice evolves and, somehow, becomes more aligned to the real world. Because for too long, learning has lived in a bubble: abstract, stratified, divorced from notions of excellence in the real world. And that gap is closing as the walls between ‘formal‘ and ‘social‘ erode, as the walls of the office collapse.
Excellent is excellent, wherever we find it, and excellence is what we should strive for.