Monday, November 18, 2013

Technology and 21st Century Learning

And I quote:

"21st century learning: A transformation from learning 'what' to learning 'how'. - Elliot Soloway

"I think one of the breakthrough ideas is to change the concept of the learner into someone who becomes a contributor by doing their work, which means we have to redefine the work. That represents a shift of control. From the teacher who is at the very centre...to the network of children who are helping one another learn." - Alan November

Elliot Soloway and Alan November are both talking about the future of learning and technology in this century. Their focus is on children (just like Stephen Heppell's from the other day).

I challenge you to read the above in the context of today's workplace.

Learning and work being redefined as the same activity in an organisation sounds pretty risky. Isn't that exactly what is expected of employees when they're asked to have on-the-job experience though?

Shifting control from the expert to a network of employees within an organisation, helping one another get the job done, that sounds both risky and not. Knowledge management types have long decried the 'key man risk' that the expert represents. But releasing control within an organisation still sounds pretty darn radical.

What about learning at work anyway? If we have to acknowledge the loosening of control around knowledge, expertise and how learning happens, how does your garden variety workplace learning professional bring home the bacon? That's definitely another conversation for another day. But I do believe it's high time it became a lot more frequently discussed. The more fear is associated with acknowledging a changing role in learning, the more painful that change is likely become. There are a lot of strengths learning types offer companies. If the way learning happens is changing, that doesn't mean those strengths are any less valid, unless they're no longer being used because the practitioner has withdrawn out of fear of the change in the first place.