#WorkingOutLoud on Learning Science: Learning Ecosystems

This week we are working on a section of the Learning Science Guidebook that deals with ‘Learning Ecosystems’. I say ‘we’: so far it’s mainly Sae and Geoff who have actually worked on it. I’m coming to it late and starting with an illustration.

The term ‘learning ecosystem’ is quite in vogue these days, but we will be exploring what Learning Science can tell us about what it actually is, and what it gives us. We will publish a draft next week), but in our notes we are considering what a Learning Ecosystem actually is, how can we structurally define it, which parts fall under our control, and what this understanding will give us in terms of the design and delivery of more effective learning. 

Sae wrote this as her definition, “a learning ecosystem is a diverse assembly of learning experiences – varying across time, subject, platform, institution, and scale – that are intentionally tied together to improve learning outcomes”

And Geoff added this, “Traditional learning platforms (LMS, VLE etc) only represent a small subset of these experiences. Which makes them poor guardians of the wider ecosystem of learning experiences. Instead, a future facing system would need to be able to support, and understand the many myriad of future learning experiences and activities that learners may need to include in their path, and build ever deeper insights on their impact and effectiveness.

I have not committed to a definition yet (and remember, this work, which will culminate in the publication of the Learning Science Guidebook is not about us finding one voice, but sharing our differences and discussions, emerging understanding and challenges as well), but i would tend towards the following:

The learning ecosystem is the landscape in which we individually and collectively learn. It has both hard and soft elements, which may include technologies, Organisations, and formal assets, as well as folklore, tribal structures, and aspects of belief. It’s not a landscape we hover over, but rather one that we walk through, changing it as we go.

More on this next week.

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.
This entry was posted in Learning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to #WorkingOutLoud on Learning Science: Learning Ecosystems

  1. wjryan says:

    Another thought to share Julian is a learning ecosystem is a roadmap that shows where learning is strategically, or should be, placed into key processes utilizing all modes to support and enhance an individual’s performance. It targets people and platforms to impact the organizations performance success.

  2. Donald Clark says:

    There has been a huge amount of work done on this by going back 0ver 30 years from Victoria J. Marsick & Karen E Watkins, Gloria Gery, Jay Cross and many others. I think we need to include their work in this sort of analysis. https://greatmindsonlearning.libsyn.com/gmol-s2e11-informal-learning-with-donald-clark

    • julianstodd says:

      Absolutely! I think in this work we will be exploring what has come before, and also being bold in considering new ideas. We touched on this in the previous article about knowledge taxonomy – which illustrated where Sae and i have slightly different views and are trying to share that openly – i know that exploration of different ideas and being open to evolution is something you will recognise! And as ever, loving the work you are doing on GMOL.

  3. Donald Clark says:

    There is also the problem with describing everything in terms of ‘learning’. Hardly anyone in organisations sees knowledge management through this lens, yet most ‘learning’ takes place outside of the learning domain.

    • julianstodd says:

      As you know, i would tend to talk about the social domain, and the intersection of those systems. We’ll try to be clear in that. But let’s see. This early stage work is pretty unfocussed – deliberately so – finding our ideas together and thrashing them around a bit. Will continue to value both your feedback, support and challenge!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.