When you write a blog, your thoughts and comments, right or wrong, stay online for a long time. In reviewing what I have been jabbing about for the past year, I’ve pieced together some of my previous conclusions – warts & all:
Starting with learning in general:
It seems pretty clear; the basic unit of learning is the person. This person is indivisible. All learning activities, products and strategies must be centered around the person. We can then go on to develop environments for many people, but the individual is the building block – not the learning object, the course, the programme, or the institution. All of these are temporary organisations that the individual may use, or be part of.
And moving on to learning at work:
My conclusion for a while has been that knowledge cannot be managed, and neither can knowledge workers. It will take a new social contract between workers and organisations in order to create an optimally functioning enterprise. Adding management and technology won’t help either. This is the crux of everything in the new "right-sized, lean, innovative, creative" economy – getting the right balance between the organisational structure and the knowledge workers.
Training without clear performance objectives, that are relevant to each learner, is useless.
And on the positive side:
What’s exciting about workflow learning is that the technology has caught up to some of the theory, and the globalized economy is making workflow learning (or something resembling it) a necessity.
Not only possible, but cheap:
An organisation’s entire KM effort could start with simple technologies. It could provide a blog to everyone, letting workers blog as they wanted. RSS aggregators could keep an eye on blogs of interest, and maybe even a blog rating system could be included in the performance management system. Yes, the better writers would get better rankings, but so would those who solve problems. A bottom-up approach to KM, at a minimal cost, makes a lot more sense than betting that some centralized system, with a huge training bill, will solve all of our problems.
What I like best about open source is that the development process is a real meritocracy, much like being an entrepreneur. In small business, if you don’t deliver, you can’t make an honest living.
Informal learning, facilitated by the likes of blogs & wikis, works well for general education, and for continued learning outside of the "classroom". Informal learning (education in the broadest sense) is messy by its very nature. Training, such as how to drive a car, can use a more scientific method to
optimize training time, achieve the desired performance and reduce the risk of accidents. Training and education can even use the same tools, like simulations, but not the same approach. Education and training are complementary, but distinct.
Still a work in progress 😉