Informal learning - Saffron Interactive

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Informal learning - Saffron Interactive

So as learning professionals,what can we do?The simple answer is that most of us will just carry ondoing what we do, and this is right and proper becausewe will always need to support the journey from Novice toAdvanced Beginner. This is where the greatest cognitiveload is; it is where the analytic paradigm works best and itprobably accounts for 80% of the cost and effort in whatwe can do to make people safe to perform.However, surely most of us would aspire to being involvedin really making a difference to how people perform. Todo this we must refocus our attention onto the informallearning space. We must recognise that the tools,techniques and mindset that served us so well in thetraditional space are wholly inadequate to be successful atfacilitating informal learning. We need another paradigmshift.We need to move from an obsession with creating asolution towards a mindset of creating an environmentwithin which a solution has the capacity to emerge.Whereas formal learning (training) has learningdesigners, informal learning has learning architects.Let me illustrate the difference between the roles byusing the metaphor of the great landscape gardenersof our past. If you visit Stourhead in Wiltshire, youmay be captivated by the grandeur and beauty ofwhat you see. You will recognise the scene becauseyou have seen it on calendars, chocolate boxes andjigsaws. You may even feel a sense of pride thatit is quintessentially English. But actually thereis nothing natural about what you see – the lakeswere dug out by hand, the rolling hills were createdby moving the landscape, most of the trees are notindigenous to these islands and the buildings andfollies all hark back to a classical age that neverreally existed. Most importantly, the people whodesigned and built it never saw it in this form, norcould they have envisaged what it would look liketoday. The landscape gardener’s role is to create anenvironment within which beauty can emerge.The learning architect’s role is to create an environment within whichinformal learning can emerge.Advance, © Saffron Interactive 20075

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