unified models for work and learning

There are two models that I regularly use when explaining how organizations need to integrate learning and working in the network era. Individuals need to master the ability to negotiate social networks, communities of practice, and teams doing complex or creative work. Personal knowledge mastery is the individual skill, while working out loud helps groups stay in close contact with the work flow. Everyone needs to be adept at cooperating in the openness of social networks in order to be open to possible innovative ideas. At the same time these workers have to be focused on co-creating value at work. They also need to find a trusted middle ground to test new ideas. Communities of practice become a business necessity and a professional development imperative. This is the network learning model.


Another model is the triple operating system, inspired by Valdis Krebs. This looks at network learning from the organizational perspective. Systems and practices need to be put in place so that workers can practice PKM while at work. This ensures awareness of the external environment. Workers also require communities of practice so they can examine multiple alternatives in emerging practices or determine how to deal with changing situations. Given a higher degree of awareness, and a greater number of viable alternatives, the organization can take action in a more coherent manner, taking into account the complex nature of the network era.


5 Responses to “unified models for work and learning”

  1. Karen Jeannette

    Since I found the top model 6 years ago, it’s been extremely useful to me as I have supported bringing people together from different universities and disciplines through new assemblies of virtual teams, CoPs or learning networks. As we bring people together from different places and backgrounds, we have to continually negotiate the tools, skill sets, and assemblies of people needed to learn and get the work done.

    That is where the Network Learning Model has been helpful to me. Looking at the model, I can ask questions about how we work, where we work, and well as how we learn and where we learn to create the most value for each individual and their teams. Without the discussion of how and where we value spending time, it’s often too seductive to write ourselves off as being ‘too busy’ doing ‘rewarded’ work in our project teams.

    The Triple Operating System model is newer to me, but I saw it’s importance last week as we worked with Nebraska Extension issue team members. It dawned on me, that looking through the lens of someone in an organizational change support role, the Alternatives space is *one* that can be intentionally fostered and connected within the organization. Perhaps, too concrete a name or idea, or to say it’s just one space to foster, but I’ve been tempted to think of this as a community of adaptability or community of change. I’d be curious to know if you thought this name had some merit?!

  2. Karen Jeannette

    Interesting thought. It certainly is more aspirational. For those that are skeptical of prior change initiatives, the challenge/opportunity would be to help people understand why and how this community could be transformational with respect to their everyday work.


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