There is much talk of learning in the flow of work: the impact of new technologies, and adoption of new approaches. What you need, when you need it. Which sounds great, although from a complexity perspective also sounds a little like a recipe for disaster. Knowing what you need is great as an aspect of doing what you know you need to do.
I find myself veering more towards a perspective that it’s a case of ‘yes and’, not ‘old and new’. Learning as an event is very different from learning as an experience, and different again from learning in the flow of work. And we may need all three.
Events that are boxed out in time and space are abstract of our everyday reality, but for that reason exist outside our everyday rules and constraints. This may provide an inherent advantage over learning that is embedded in our workflow (with the opposite true as well, of course – learning in the abstract may forever remain abstract).
Event based learning may be understood in the moment, but not carried into application, whilst of course applied learning may be applied in one context, but fail to be generalised out into broader problem solving and intuitive capability.
All this may nudge us towards more socially collaborative, experience based approaches: learning that takes place over time, which may provide both abstract ideas and also opportunities for application. Arguably it’s less malleable than in the flow of work, but significantly more adaptable and adaptive than fixed assets. I guess that one could argue that ‘experience’ and ‘work’ are the same thing in any event, although that may be to bypass the increasing feasibility of micro overlays of contextual information through wearables and mobile.
A weakness of this view is that is also confuses, to an extent, the difference between pedagogical approaches, and simple logistical ones.
My sense is that a dynamic learning organisation will maintain aspects of event based learning, will engage in experiential learning, whilst also rapidly prototyping a range of the newer predictive and micro engaging learning technologies, whilst all the while keeping one eye on whether they are delivering ‘known’ capability faster (how to do the same things better), or more generalised capability and organisational quorum sensing to stress factors.