#WorkingOutLoud on the Learning Map 2020

This map is a sketch of some of the key areas i’m thinking about in terms of Learning Transformation across 2020: it’s only partly sketched so far, but i thought i would share a brief narrative around some of the areas covered. Today i am sharing the first two areas. This work reflects my own notes and evolving understanding: it is not shared as a coherent and complete body of work.

I’ve loosely organised it around four areas: ‘Design’ considerations, ‘Ecosystem’ factors, ‘Theoretical’ frames, and ‘Environmental’ contexts. These four frames may evolve in the next iteration, but broadly they relate to the following.

DESIGN considerations are the things i see as either emergent areas, or the most active areas, in which Organisations are seeking to transform their learning approach. I have not shared obvious ones that relate to simple utility.

In this space so far i’m considering the need for building capability around interactive virtual session design (in the context of pretty much all events going virtual), as well as some of the techniques and behaviours of successful facilitation and participation. Whilst you could consider some of this as hygiene, there are some emergent areas, such as the use of third party software tools and platforms that significantly impact engagement.

Understanding how we reward or recognise value creation in social collaboration is a particular challenge, which will require most likely a combination of interaction and social validation (what you do and what people say about it).

Techniques around social collaboration will continue to evolve, with the obvious trap being attempts to impose structure or technology on a fundamentally social and discretionary engagement.

More broadly we see ‘utility’ being replaced in favour of ‘experience’ and a great interest in experience design, as well as design thinking and UX design, but there is work to do around what this means in the specific context of the learning organisation, as well as some honest questions to ask ourselves about our organisational capability, and at a very practical level what this means for resourcing, for budget, for volume and workflow planning, and from both a quality assurance perspective (how will we measure), and product lifespan. Probably also work to understand when engagement is generated through design approaches, and when it is a placebo effect of novelty.

In the ECOSYSTEM we may consider how Organisations are starting to adopt emergent, typically AI/ML driven tech that is generating insight, trends, or development needs from analysis of organisational traffic. These emergent technologies are typically reversing the trend of the last ten years: away from monolithic single suppliers towards rapidly diversifying divergent apps that integrate into a holistic capability, sometimes around core infrastructure systems. But this requires new capabilities around understanding, around integration, and around choreography and coherence of the learning experience, not to mention deep knowledge around potential and output to shape further the learning design. In isolation much of this emergent tech with generate data, but no insight or actionable intelligence.

In models of social collaborative learning, we will rapidly have to address ecosystem factors, and build out at least initial models of social interaction, and in my work i am most interested in how we collaborate beyond the tribe, how we interconnect at scale, and through our boundaries of coherence.

There is much talk of metrics, and data led approaches, but our ecosystem often reacts to data rather than planning for it: partly as a result of it being driven by tech, but largely as a result of core capability to understand how we design the information architecture of complex social and collaborative systems, and indeed how we measure learning appreciation rather than simple retention.

I suspect that per this above challenge we will find most existing frameworks to be naively simple, giving us approaches and frameworks that deliver almost no value. They are outdated in mindset, construct, and context.

At potentially the most interesting end of things, we will see new mechanisms of inter-organisational permeability, as the edges of our ecosystems blur. Not only marketplaces and development programmes to trade expertise, but also to share risk. Learning will sit in parallel to this: already we see progressive Organisations adopting what is essentially their own structure of higher education, but also shared graduate models (or evolutions thereof) as a recognition that we do not need (nor can afford) to differentiate on every level. Shared credentialing will follow, but this will highlight a fundamental weakness as organisation persist in believing that they own human capital, rather than earning it.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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