Connecting the dots
Connected Learning, now I ‘’get’’ it, or should say, starting to ‘get’ it, more & more each day. This post is one of a few more on how I was able to ‘’get’’ the concept what Connected Learning is.
We will need to embrace the fact that ‘’Learning, will forever be Part Formal, Informal and Social’’
Hearing it live from the man himself resonated well with me…I fully agree with that Connected Learning declaration. This chat took place in the summer of 2011. Thanks for being attentive and giving to a great cause Dan! Let’s hope for many more similar chats, and more amazing weather.
I will tell you how I got to meet Mr. Pontefract & other learning leaders little later, in other related entries, however for now, we will focus on getting to know how it all started!
It all began, 5 years ago …
Being part of a formal Training team for over 5 years now, and as a facilitator, I was hearing a lot of buzz about e-learnings and training design, how integral they are in a learning organization. I was also hearing how people can learn fast and grow thanks to good design & facilitation techniques and amazing content authoring technologies etc… All this is 100% true.
Having joined the Learning team a few years in already, I have to say that this work experience is bringing much needed internal awareness and wisdom, helping me bridge gaps, being cultural or performance based, and provide learning solutions as support for on the job performance. This position, in the learning domain, made me much more conscious about the culture and responsibilities I carried as a corporate citizen.
Dating back to mid-2008, it’s when I took upon myself to expand my knowledge on the topic and usefulness of good training and e-learning design; it’s when I wanted to take my learning professional journey to another level. It was the next step, the natural thing to do. Also, Along the way, it was a lot fun, was experimenting with technology, chatting with likeminded folks about learning theories, helping each other out, very much still the case today, … good times, good feeling…
The excitement was irrepressible, and my quest being to appeal to and accommodate different learning styles , I decided to discern the e-learning and formal training design concept a little more, and took a stab at designing few short e-learnings and training modules myself. This I thought would be the obvious next step up for me, in contributing in the learning domain. I turned to some colleagues for help in sharing their experiences, used references like the Addie model and tools like captivate for authoring and the results and ideas were rightfully decent, for an apprentice such as myself. I had a blast not only with other learning leaders, but also with using and making the best out of technology .
Making the connections between behaviors and environments
Understanding adult education principles helped realize that adult workers carry so much valuable experience and knowledge from previous work or life events that it contributes or affects their learning results and relationships with others. I also learned how a working learner’s engagement is based what the actual sentiment is, whether feeling relaxed, anxious, insecure or confident. And ultimately, I learned how much is happening behind the scenes, in the learner’s head, and why adults act and react the way they do in formal settings.
And as a result of my discoveries, I was able to understand without judging, why lots of adult learners yearn to unleash their talent and gifts once more, demonstrate their true worth to everyone. Were they feeling held back ? The question deserves to be asked …
Even other questions come to mind…
Does a formal learning setting alone provide theses fulfillment opportunities ? Is the approach used blocking or fostering dialogue and openness ?
It all depends on lots of things, such as the existing organizational culture, the values in place, the ecosystem. I also like to think it is up to the facilitator’s knowledge of the craft, overall intentions and leadership philosophy to make the best of any dedicated learning time.
Putting it all together
It is when I started to see a formal training session as a potential to capitalize on an opportunity and bring something extra to the adult worker’s life, outside of classroom walls. I embraced their urges to express themselves and made sure they could do this, from day one. All this is done in an informal setting, where open conversations take place, everyone can participate and contribute with their knowledge and experience.
That is when I made a connection between two learning approaches, formal and informal and grasped that they both are effective and required for learning and development, in their own ways. They are both valuable to an organization however, their context and approaches bring different feelings on the table.
I will post what happened next, in the coming days. I will talk about what emerges as a result of taking an informal approach in a formal setting . Till then, enjoy the read, the links and references. They’re all worth taking a look at…