Published on December 26, 2008
This is the electronic edition of the printed un- book. I encourage you to share ideas, pages, and graphics to spread the message, but please do not copy and distribute this ﬁle in its entirety. Download Adobe’s free Digital Editions software to make your reading of these words most Jay Cross enjoyable. firstname.lastname@example.org November 1, 2008 Version 1.33 always beta
Meta In case you misplace it... Your name: __________________________________ Email address: ________________________________ Objective of this un-book Provide you with tools and concepts for getting things done in organizations in todayʼs Welcome to the trek increasingly volatile, unpredictable world. Join me in learning how to nurture more effective organizations. The world is changing at an amazing Lots more online pace, new pathways to prosperity These printed pages are the front end are opening up all around us, and no to content online at one has a map. I hope youʼll join me http://un-book.com. as a fellow explorer, not just a passive reader. You will receive you user name and password by email. (Your password and subscription will email@example.com expire in six months, about the time the printed material goes out of date.) Come to our community site to chat and give me your feedback. Weʼre at http://learnscape.ning.com/ un-book.com 2 Learnscaping
Meta Un-book? The Informal Learning 2.0 Fieldbook. Thatʼs what I called this growing heap of words until I realized I wasnʼt writing a book, and my topic was broader than informal learning. This un-book takes the liberty of Not about learning? Learning is the cognitive process of taking many forms. It’s a acquiring skills or knowledge. This treatise is about doing. In a perpetual experiment. If you society of knowledge workers, learning is more important than want to see a topic expanded or ever, but if it does not lead to action it is simply a distraction. Iʼd to recommend any pages for the use the title Getting Things Done if someone had not beat me to it. shredder, email me or post a notice on the Learnscaping Not a book? Traditional books freeze an authorʼs thoughts in time. The faster the world ﬂows by, the less relevant the book. The Community site. material here will probably change at least once a week. The book you buy will always be the latest, for itʼs printed on demand. This un-book is forever a work in progress. By responding to feedback, adapting to changing conditions, and building on new insights, un-books improve with age. Un-book readers participants make things better for the next guy. They learn from one another. Traditional books are one-way. The author speaks; you listen. Consider the Whole Earth Catalog, which pulled you in with information on handy tools and how to Speak up at our community: use them. The Whole Earth Catalog pre-dated the Web. Now, http://learnscape.ning.com/ when you ﬁnd a better tool, you can tell the community about it. Comment on any page in our cloud This un-book is only available by subscription. Youʼve purchased a printed book and six months of access to accompanying online Tell me what you’d like to see here resources. At the end of six months, your password will expire. If you choose to continue, you may purchase the latest version of Add stories to help others along the un-book and receive a fresh password to the online material. 3 Learnscaping
Learnscaping Page by page 4 Learnscaping
Most pages here are learning objects. They present an idea that can stand alone. I encourage you to jump around. Scribble a note on each page you read, so you’ll be able to flip to new ones some other time. Read a little. Pause. Highlight meaningful text. Reflect. What can you do with that idea? Doses of about 30 minutes feel right. 6 Learnscaping
Visit our Cloud From the opening page of un-book.com More of this un-book is online than off. This is from the front page of un-book.com. You owe it to yourself to visit. Use the name and password you received in your welcoming email. When you see a miniature cloud, it means that an article here continues directly into the website. Participation inequality Put a hundred people in an online situation. One of them will become an activist rabble-rouser who brings up new ideas and generates excitement. Ten people will respond. And the rest will be content to sit on the sidelines; they will learn a slim fraction of what the active participants do. Please, for your sake, not mine, go online and leave a comment on any page. Break the ice and join the doers. You will gain a lot more if you do. 7 Learnscaping
Current contents at http://un-book.com, the Learnscape Cloud 8 Learnscaping
This un-book is for early adopters Early adopters Meta Enthusiasts, visionaries, tinkerers, and experimenters are drink close always the ﬁrst to try out something new. They are the crazy to the ones. They put up with half-baked, pre-release products in source of return for the opportunity to reap early rewards, bragging rights for beating others to the punch, and having vendors the stream. pay them respect. You know these early adopters. When a new piece of software comes out, they have to try it. When a different approach to training appears, they volunteer their organization for a pilot test. Manual? We donʼt need no stinking manual! Uncertainty engages the mind. Early adopters enjoy shaping products and services before the concrete hardens. They regard problems as opportunities Donʼt be too certain to give feedback. Frequently, they are artistic, creative people trapped in rigid organizations. Pushing the envelope All learning is co-creation, a product of a learner and an outside feeds their need for variety and innovation. Silicon Valley agent. would wither without them, for they provide the initial toe-hold for unproven concepts. A professor gave her class a paper on urban sociology to read, explaining that there would be a test. The professor gave another This is the early-adopter version of this un-book. If you are class the same paper and instructions plus a warning that the not comfortable with typos, sentence fragments, missing material was controversial; it might not be correct. In other words, chapters, and perhaps a few urban legends trying to pass the paper was beta. themselves off as truth, wait a while. The dotted-i, crossed-t version will be out eventually, and it will incorporate the The group that read the beta paper scored higher. Why? Because changes suggested. uncertainty engages the mind. If you are an enthusiast, please assume your preferred This is why it makes sense to label all learning activities beta. identity: participate. When you dig into the online material Engage the learnersʼ minds. For that matter, mark plans beta: It will here, add comments and make suggestions. Help make this invite participation. And make your department beta — after all, better. Join the community, stoke discussion, and raise a everything is an experiment ruckus. Of course, as with everything else in here, this chapter is still in beta. Everyone else You Beta 9 Learnscaping
Learnscaping In the knowledge era, learning is the work. Foolish is the organization that tries to manage the pieces of learning as if they were independent from an overall work/learning process. Knowledge work In the previous commercial era, workers operated machinery to produce goods. You could see what they were doing and touch the goods they produced. Time-and-motion studies identiﬁed the one best way to do a job; training taught workers how to do it. Successful workers followed instructions. “Youʼre not paid to think.” Outcomes were predictable. Work was mechanical. Today, workers apply knowledge to deliver services. You canʼt see most of “The purpose of the organization is to enable common men to do uncommon things. No organization what theyʼre doing, and their output is largely intangible. Thereʼs always a can depend on genius; the supply is always scarce and better way to do a job; learning stretches minds to cope with new unreliable. The test of an organization is the spirit of situations. Successful knowledge workers are rewarded for innovation and performance. The focus must be on the strengths of a ingenuity. These workers are paid to think. Change is rampant and man—on what he can do rather than what he cannot do. The focus of the organization must be on opportunities unpredictable. Work is social. rather than problems.” Learning is the work Peter Drucker Corporate learning used to based on the proposition that knowing how people did things in the past was adequate preparation for the present. This worked when there was generally but one, unchanging way to do a task. Today, change is baked into everything. About all we can say about the future is that it wonʼt be like the past. The topic of learning must shift from what used to work to what works now. High-quality learning is that which enables a worker to turn in an exemplary performance, and this is a moving target. Pragmatic learning involves continually acquiring knowledge, ﬁguring out how to do things, unlearning concepts that have become obsolete, and keeping abreast of change. The product of learning is adaptation. Not so long ago, knowledge was thought to reside in oneʼs head. Now we understand knowledge to be collective intelligence, a shared consensual reality. We arenʼt mere consumers of knowledge; weʼre contributors as well. 10 Learnscaping
One platform for work and learning The new factory ﬂoor Industrial age workers created value in factories. Where do knowledge workers create value? I will call the knowledge-age factory ﬂoor a learnscape. A learnscape is the platform where knowledge workers collaborate, solve problems, converse, share ideas, brainstorm, learn, relate to others, talk, explain, communicate, conceptualize, tell stories, help one another, teach, serve customers, keep up to date, meet one another, forge partnerships, build communities, and distribute information. Learnscapes are where and how modern work is performed. Landscapes and learnscapes Landscape design is an apt metaphor for nurturing an ecology for learning. You design, climate happens, things evolve. Balanced • Design concept – strategic intent, shared vision, harmony Simple • Preparing the Land – architecture, workspace design, organizational form • Pruning – 80/20 focus, pulling the weeds, unlearning Natural • Maintenance – organizational network analysis, augmentation Robust • Life cycle – of the learners, of the ecosystem Thriving • Seasons – adaptation of the learnscape, cycle time Connected • Tending each plant – I/O, progress, ﬁt, connections, response rate Vibrant • Nutrients – rewards, sunlight, stories, patterns, stability • Yield = revenue • Garden tours – customer feedback, beauty, charm • Experiments – plant exotic species, keep mutants, innovate often • Flows – the streams of information Platform, not program Learnscape architects work with platforms, not programs. A platform is an operating system for networks that puts their users in charge. It is a framework, not a ﬁxed program. A program is a structured, rigid element thatʼs provided on a take-it- or-leave-it basis. Software programs and training program both operate in the context of platforms. The happenstance learning platforms of the past were as water to the ﬁsh: too close to be seen. Putting this Learnscape architects sculpt ﬂexible, loosely-coupled frameworks for learning. They rise above events to tweak the into practice connections in processes. They consciously move to a higher plane. Their concern is not individual learning so much as the loftier vantage of meta-learning. Courses end; learnscapes persist. Organizations and their members are living things, and the landscape/learnscape 11 analogy invites us to consider nature, symbiosis, interconnections, genetic make-up, adaptation, the change of seasons, Learnscaping and life cycles.
The learnscape architect Powers of Ten Role of the architect Gardeners donʼt control plants; managers donʼt control people. They canʼt make a plant ﬁt into the landscape or a person ﬁt into an organization; they can prepare an environment to make this likely. Our role as learning professionals is to protect the environment, provide nutrients for growth, and let nature take its course. Learnscape architects nurture organizations to get things done as simply and naturally as possible. Diverse elements, held in equilibrium, make for robust, thriving, vibrant organizations. Learnscapes share many characteristics with the web: simplicity, clarity, user-centricity, restraint and attention to detail. Self-service workers connect to one another, to ongoing ﬂows of information and work, to their teams and organizations, to their customers and markets, not to mention their families and friends because they can easily navigate networks of “small pieces, loosely joined,” the conventions they know from the internet. A landscape architectʼs goal is to conceptualize a harmonious, uniﬁed, pleasing garden that makes the most of the site at hand. A learnscape architect strives to create a learning environment that increases the organizationʼs longevity and health and the individual learnerʼs happiness and well-being. Harmony is a tough sell in a topsy-turvy business climate. Business leaders are likely to be more interested in its ripples, among them: • building productive two-way relationships with customers • fostering a culture of continuous improvement • facilitating teamwork, collaboration, and joint problem-solving • increasing corporate responsiveness to change • cutting superﬂuous email and bureaucratic bloat • strengthening bonds with all stakeholders • attracting inquisitive, self-motivated talent • keeping abreast of new developments in industry and markets • fostering self-service learning without boundaries • replacing antiquated control systems with enlightened self-regulation Just getting started? Go to Our Cloud. Read Are you ready? and Whatʼs in it for you? 12 Learnscaping
Meta The major obstacle The web enables the many to wrest power from the few and helps them not only change the world but change the way the world changes. The cover of Time magazine ran a picture of a computer monitor filled with one word: You. The text underneath read, “Yes, you. You control the Information Age Welcome to your world.” This is hardly the first instance of Time oversimplifying things. There’s a speed bump on the road to your world: THEM. They are skeptical. They fear that no matter how well- A New York tailor has intentioned and enthusiastic its fans, this web 2.0 stuff can an audience with the wait. It is a diversion from the core mission. It might backfire. Pope. His friends all It’s disruptive. The ROI’s not there. We need to plan first. We ask what his holiness have to assign responsibility. We have to put controls in place. was like. “Heʼs a 46 We need to assess the pitfalls. Who’s going to take Regular.” responsibility for this stuff? Murphy’s Law will kick in. Ad infinitum. The eight-letter word that summarizes these arguments is: BULLSHIT. To win them over to your cause, you may want to be less direct. Where absolute superiority is not attainable, you must produce a relative one at the decision point by making skillful use of what you have. --Karl von Clausewisz (On War, 1832) 13 Learnscaping
“We don’t have enough time.” Human brains have not changed much in the past 20,000 years. On the savannah, evolution favored hunters who could make snap decisions. Thinking long-term didnʼt matter when people lacked the language to plan ahead, the average lifespan was under 20, and all of humanity didnʼt leave a carbon toe-print. Times have changed but brains have not. From Calvin and Hobbes… “Nothing I do is my fault. My family is “Heʼs too busy chopping down trees to stop and sharpen his axe” dysfunctional and my parents wonʼt empower exempliﬁes the folly of short-term thinking. You cannot postpone the me! Consequently, Iʼm not self-actualized. My inevitable. “I donʼt have enough time” is a statement of priorities, not behavior is addictive functioning on a disease a description of the availability of time. process of toxic codependency! I need holistic healing and wellness before Iʼll accept any responsibility for my actions!”–Calvin “One of us needs to stick his head in a bucket What’s holding us back? of ice water.” –Hobbes Business has already squeezed the big process improvements out of its industrial systems. For many “I love the culture of victimhood.”–Calvin companies, the beneﬁts of collaboration and networking are virgin territory. The upside potential is staggering: people innovating, sharing, supporting one another, all naturally and without barriers. The traditional approach has been to automate routine tasks in order to reduce cost; the new vision is to empower people to take advantage of their innate desire to share and learn. Web 2.0, the “collaborative web,” makes ﬁle cabinets and hard drives overﬂowing with email obsolete. Members of a group can share information and make improvements to one copy thatʼs virtually available to everyone. Workers learn to remix rather than re-invent, and having everyone read from the same page overcomes the danger of mistaking obsolete information for current. Distance no longer keeps workers apart. As we remove obstacles, the time required to do anything shrivels up. 14 Learnscaping
Purpose of the Learnscape Make organization more valuable to its stakeholders DRAFT
Work Learning Collaborative Social Intangible On demand Cerebral Interactive Value-driven Collective Holistic Self-service Unpredictable Informal Flexible Responsive Learnscape Work Transparent Learning Connected Innovative Perpetual beta
Platform 1. Common rules for 2. It’s everywhere, connection. pervasive standards, protocols lingua franca, mash-ups, plus-and-play 3. Contains loosely- A learnscape is the platform where knowledge workers coupled, reconﬁgurable collaborate, solve problems, converse, share ideas, brainstorm, networks learn, relate to others, talk, explain, communicate, conceptualize, tell stories, help one another, teach, serve customers, keep up to date, meet, forge partnerships, build communities, and distribute information. Learnscapes are where and how modern work is performed.
Phase Change Industrial mindset to network culture End of Age of Stuff Beginning the Age of Connections Cogito ergo sum Perception is reality Material world Therefore, many realities out there WYSIWYG, one reality Everything is connected “It is I.” “We are all in this together.” More than demise of industrial era Everything is relative Newton just a summary Everything ﬂows Focus on the visible It’s all connected World is mechanical, predictable World is complex, outcomes uncertain Pre-atomic, pre-quantum All is a work-in-progress Belief in fundamentals, absolutes Time as a artiﬁcial overlay, i.e. a tennis racket Some stuff is “ﬁnished” Ditto ownership (since things are a ﬁgment) “We are nodes” “We are connectors” Learning to do stuff Learning to be (take new vantage point) Programs Platforms 18 Learnscaping
This is the major issue of our time. Organizations Crossing the Great Divide Survival in business requires crossing the great divide between where we are now and where we need to be a year or two from now. Weʼve lived on the left side of the divide for centuries. Enormous successes have lulled us into a complacent rhythm. We have wrought miracles: electriﬁcation, electronics, bio-tech, computers, television, mass production, trains, planes, and automobiles: you name it. Nonetheless, itʼs time to move on. Everything is going faster, swinging further out of normal limits, and behaving erratically. Weʼre ripping along so fast that the wheels are about to fall off. Think demise of the planet, using up irreplaceable resources, turning up the heat, weapons of mass destruction (unlike Iraq, we have real ones), tribal and religious hatred, etc., etc., etc. This is entropy. Crossing the great divide colors everything else weʼll be talking about here. Learning to go beyond People learn best in a context of common understanding, moral conviction, emotional intelligence, and standards of conduct. Wise educators help build platforms for learning that incorporate these qualities. They delegate the control of learning to students and concentrate on nurturing platforms that enable people to exercise their new-found discretionary learning power wisely. How can we make it from where we Collectively and individually, we need to lift our anchors to the past. Planting one are now to where we need to be? foot in the future while keeping the other in the past is not feasible. Weʼre accustomed to living atop a foundation of beliefs, assumptions, and values that we perceived as reality. Leaving that reality behind requires us to accept that there are multiple realities. The foundation we each tie ourselves to is not some solid object that glues us to the earth. The belief that our ships are immobile, as if moored in concrete, is learned helplessness. We see what we expect to see and are blind to possibilities beyond our expectations. What seemed to be a foundation is more like a personal ship. Weʼre irrevocably tied to the ship (itʼs what keeps us aﬂoat) but the ship is free to move around. 19 Learnscaping
Why this is hard Business context Network effects Worldview Core/context Dense interconnections Emergence Object orientation Accelerating cycle time Illusion of control Bottom-up Interdependence Holistic Customer voice Volatility Perpetual beta Unpredictable Long tail Everything flows Incessant change Ambient findability All is connected Services/intangibles Signal:noise Process Learning Internet values Knowledge Informal Connections Collective intelligence Adaptation Openness Socially-constructed Becoming Transparency Context-bound Know-who Authenticity Breakdown of disciplines Drip feed Interactivity Group phenomenon Need-driven Loosely coupled Social intelligence Performance support Interoperability Cognitive breakthroughs
Up, up, and away Density of connections Cycle time Unpredictability Collaboration Interdependence Leveling Volatility Intangibles Services Work as improv Pace Collective intelligence Flow
Organizations The new factory ﬂoor In the last commercial era, workers operated machinery to produce goods. You could see what the workers were doing and touch the goods they produced. Time-and-motion studies identiﬁed the one best way to do a job; training taught workers how to do it. Successful workers followed instructions. “Youʼre not paid to think.” Outcomes were predictable. Work was mechanical. Today, workers apply knowledge to deliver services. You canʼt see what theyʼre doing, and their output is largely intangible. Thereʼs always a better way to do a job; learning stretches minds to cope with new situations. Successful knowledge workers are rewarded for innovation and ingenuity. These workers are paid to think. Change is rampant and unpredictable. Work is social. View day-to-day Industrial age workers created value in factories; knowledge workers create value in learnscapes. A learnscape is the platform where knowledge workers collaborate, solve problems, converse, share ideas, brainstorm, learn, relate to others, talk, explain, communicate, conceptualize, tell stories, help one another, teach, serve customers, keep up to date, meet one another, forge partnerships, build communities, and distribute information. Corporations that learn and Learnscapes are the knowledge-age equivalent of the factory ﬂoor; they are where and how modern work is performed. adapt will prosper; those that donʼt will not endure. In the knowledge era, learning is the work.
Push and Pull Organizations Telemarketers from the vendor with a push strategy call to sell you insurance as you sit down to dinner. The Hard Rock Café displays Bo Diddley’s guitar pick and plays throbbing music to pull you in. The itinerant Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman pushes; the Gilroy Garlic Festival is pull. Push is generally someone else’s idea; pull is what you think you want. The Industrial Age was pushy. Owners predicted what would people would buy, built the factory, made large quantities to take advantage of economies of scale, and then tried to convince people to buy. Today change is so rampant and the future so unpredictable that Dell doesn’t build your computer until you order it. You cannot set up in advance when you don’t know what the future holds. New management disciplines for the pull world all involve how organizations relate to one another (outsourcing, orchestration, productive friction). This, in turn, makes one think about where strategic advantage comes from. China is rapidly becoming the center for business management innovation, and this is the source of continuing advantage; copycats won’t catch you if you’re always ahead of them. All of this is nurtured by networks stitched together with responsive, modular IT. Value, i.e. what it takes to stay ahead, used to reside in killer products or shrewd finance. In the pull world, value results from talent. Talent, in turn, is the result of maintaining relationships. The leading organizations of the future will be those with the ability to create and retain talent. Developing talent will become the role of the firm – and the way people choose who they want to work for. I know, I know: I have hammered the Push/Pull metaphor to death here. That’s because I find it so useful for understanding what is happening in the world. Push is the phone call during supper urging me to donate $50 to some charity I never heard of. Pull is me using Google to find just what I need. 23 Learnscaping
Learners. Designation used by Workers. People paid by learning professionals to escape organizations to get a job done. May the pesky notion that people have apply to executives, factory hands, lives outside of lessons and and paper pushers. Reminder to workshops. focus on getting the job done. Informal learning. Acquiring INATT. “It’s not about the knowledge naturally, without a technology.” Shorthand for “it’s curriculum. Often unscheduled and people that matter.” rarely graded. Performance is its measure of evaluation. Jimmy Swaggart Syndrome. People who excel at something are often overcompensating for their Performance support. own perceived shortcomings. Embedding knowledge in work to Corrupt preachers selflessly set out enable unknowledgeable people to to save us from their sins. Most perform without learning. learning gurus have learning disorders. Do-gooder politicians are usually corrupt. Ask someone how Problem. Self-limiting vantage they are helping the world, and they point for looking at a situation that will tell you how they are helping presupposes one knows the Un-anything. themselves. domain for making things better. Re-conceptualizing a traditional form such as a meeting or conference to more directly serve the wishes of its participants. Money. If a fellow tells you it’s not about the money, it’s the principle of the thing, it’s about the money Complex adaptive systems. Learning. The acquisition of The root cause of everything. The skills & knowledge. More results of the interplay of complex meaningful when the skills & adaptive systems are knowledge lasted a lifetime. The Timing. The first 90% of a job unpredictable. world is changing so rapidly today takes 90% of the time; the that adaptation is a more useful remaining 10% of the job takes the way to think about things. other 90% of the time. Learnscaping
ADDIE. Rigid design model that IT. Organization that minimizes enables government agencies to risk in systems by minimizing user abandon systems thinking in favor choice, linkage to outside of contract simplificaiton. environments, and experimentation. ROI. Literally, Return on Control. Frequently, an Investment. Often abused by oversimplification of the results valuing intangibles at zero. cause-and-effect. I don’t have enough time. Statement of your individual priorities. Book. One-way means of sharing Curriculum. The subject matter information, while freezing it at a of formal education. Pre-supposes point in time and cutting the author learner choice. eLearning. Meaningless term. out of the feedback loop, at the Opportunities for learning offered expense of trees. or supported electronically. Grades. The measure of individual accomplishment in Portal. Doorway or entrance. In school. Outside of schools, a computer lore, a portal is often a nearly random variable unrelated Program. An element that runs one-way turnnstile that attempts to to wealth, happiness, power, or on a platform. (Why not go up a trap users inside. success. level)? 25 Learnscaping
Everything ﬂows. Everything’s connected. Meta Without connections, there is no meaning. Nothing exists all on its lonesome. Treating events as if they’re isolated from a broader context oversimpliﬁes reality. It’s a mental short-cut that may save time but may also blind you to the broader situation. When thinking about a project or event, I apply a simple model to remind myself it’s part of a larger process. What came before? What comes after? This forces me to frame everything within in surroundings. Before jumping to conclusions, I often go a step further. What’s up or down a level from the one I’m on? When we try to pick out anything by itself, we ﬁnd it hitched to everything else in the universe. John Muir
Internet Cultural Values Honesty and authenticity. Simpler is better. The spirit of the The values of the Internet Culture are the strongest foundation net is to tell is like it is, to peel away the facade and be upon which to evolve a next-generation learnscape. authentic. “Be who you are!” suggested Nietsche. It’s easier than faking it. In learning, being authentic means admitting that Connections. Connections are everything. They create we don’t have all the answers. It’s recognition that we’re all in networks, and networks are growing exponentially. If your this together. It’s hooking people up so they may learn from and learning plans don’t embrace the power of networks, go back with one another. the drawing board for another look. Learning occurs in conversations, collaboration, knowledge transfer, focused news, Transparency. Seeing the inside of an organization enables us and other network phenomena. A prime directive in any to collaborate with them to make things better. People who evolving learnscape is to increase the throughput of personal hoard information shoot themselves in the foot; nobody will network connections such as instant messenger, higher know who they are. You’ve got to know an organization or bandwidth, searchable directories, optimized organizational person to form a relationship with them. You cannot make channels, and water coolers, both virtual and real. friends with someone hidden behind an opaque wall. Push the edges. Twenty years ago, training departments Perpetual beta. Nothing is ever finished. Hence, it’s better to fretted about consistency: providing precisely the same training put an unfinished offering out there before dotting the i’s and experience to everyone in the organization. That’s not a good crossing the t’s. He who hesitates for typos is lost. Do it, try it, strategy for making money. In the old days, a hyper-proficient fix it. Drive changes with feedback from learners themselves. worker might outperform the average by twenty or thirty More frequent reviews translate into less time invested in going percent. Now that products are intangible, mindware knows no down the wrong path. If someone says a project is finished, it is. limits. Google figures a superlative engineer creates 200 times as much value as his middle-tier peer. Back the superlative guy The Long Tail. When it comes to learning opportunities, small or gal, the wild ideas, and the weirdness of the new. Experiment businesses, esoteric specialists, and fast-moving teams have continuously. As IBM’s Tom Watson said, “If you want to traditionally been short-changed. It wasn’t worth the effort. You succeed, double your failure-rate.” couldn’t reach critical mass. Now you can. Web technology scales. Five-person companies use Salesforce.com for Power to the peers. Networks subvert hierarchy. Users create customer relationship management. Expect to see a learning value and when information is plentiful, peers take over. equivalent soon. As for the esoterica, distance no longer keeps Abundant knowledge dethrones kings and fosters democracy. In specialists from conversing with one another. Rich niches imply a knowledge era, knowledge workers are the means of that a need to assess upside opportunities more closely than production. Forget command and control. Encourage bottom peers. out-of-pocket costs. Knowledge workers want you to show them the dots but demand that they connect them on their own. Think of learning Loose coupling. A specific case is Cluetrain author David as a partnership with the learners, not “delivery.” Weinberger’s conceptualization of the web as “small pieces, loosely joined.” I’ve been doing an increasing amount of my Intangibles. More and more of the world’s wealth is intangible. work on the web, and I am astounded how the ability to work You can’t see patents, brands, good will, expertise, culture, and with small chunks improves my productivity. What once took a so forth, but they account for more and more of corporations’ rewrite now requires simply changing a link. No learning value. Twenty-five years ago, intangible assets accounted for environment need resist improvements until it bites the dust. 38% of the wealth of the Standard and Poors’s 500 companies. What we once thought of as “maintenance” is becoming more Forget about measuring only what’s visible to the naked eye, important than the initial “deliverable.” Pieces of any system (”ROI”) and begin assessing transfers of value. That’s where the morph into plug-compatible chunks that can be swapped in and smart money is headed. out without disrupting the ecosystem. Changing a small item 27 Learnscaping does not require unpacking the whole apparatus.
n = 235
Yikes! n = 235
Learnscaping Emergent learning Optimizing the benefits of people learning in organizations can’t be realized within the confines of training departments. Well, perhaps you can save a few dollars here and there, but the big payoff comes from changes in attitude and corporate culture. Informal learning is more a worldview than a specific intervention. Who’s in charge of ripping out cubicles and installing pool tables? Things like that undeniably increase informal learning but aren’t the responsibility of the chief learning officer. Learnscape Fertilizers Informal learning is about situated action, collaboration, coaching, and reflection, not study and reading. Developing a platform to Level 1 - Word of mouth support informal learning is analogous to landscaping a garden. A 1. Open office structure major component of informal learning is natural learning, the notion 2. Proximity and line of sight seating of treating people as organisms in nature. Workers are free-range 3. Non-departmental seating learners. Our role is to protect their environment, provide nutrients 4. Staff area with relevant magazines for growth, and let nature take its course. Self-service learners are 5. Budget for staff get-togethers connected to one another, to ongoing flows of information and work, 6. Brown bag lunches to their teams and organizations, to their customers and markets, not 7. Book club/Budget for books on Amazon to mention their families and friends. Level 2 - Word of mouse Informal learning is holistic. “It’s not my department is no excuse for 1. Skills database or profiles suboptimal results or stressed-out workers. We must address 2. Intranet with workflow structure and linked learning individuals, for helping everyone be all that they can be is not 3. Online quality system linked to workflow charity; it’s good business. 4. EPSS software 5. Email 6. Instant messenger 7. Discussion boards 8. Blogs 9. Wikis 10. Podcasting 11. Syndication 12. MMORPGs from Donald Clark 30 Learnscaping
Push and pull Meta Push is a metaphor for imposing things on people; itʼs top- down. Pull is a metaphor for free choice; itʼs bottom-up. Push learning is mandated, formal, and curriculum-bounded. Pull learning is self-service, collaborative, driven by immediate need or curiosity, and unbounded. Learning ecologies, not schools At the point of being overwhelmed by repeated shotgun blasts of infobits, learners are turning the gun around to hunt ... the best way to support learning is from the down what they want. demand side rather than the supply side. That is, rather than deciding ahead of time what a learner They are selecting what mail, email, television programs, needs to know and making this explicitly available to phone calls, and reports they want in their lives. the exclusion of everything else, designers and instructors need to make available as much as People will rely on systems and on other people for guidance possible of the whole rich web of practice-explicit and in selecting what they want in this self-service environment. implicit-allowing the learner to call upon aspects of practice, latent in the periphery, as they are needed. An unpredictable world has no absolutes. Knowledge management thought leader Denham Gray writes, “Pull is Stolen Knowledge, good up to a point, but I suspect the really useful stuff, the by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid key discoveries, will continue to come from the edges and beyond, from outside your strong links, from the periphery. What will be key is maintaining a ﬁne balance between self- driven inquiry, network recommendations, individual foraging, deep ʻlisteningʼ, awareness and critical review.”