This three-part blog series covers three metaphors that aim to answer one important question: What is ‘learning’? You can read the previously published parts here: What is learning?: Part I: Acquiring knowledge and Part II Learning as taking part.
At work, we continuously create new solutions, and eventually, knowledge. It is good to be able to acquire knowledge and to become a central figure in a given community. But those organizations, which are best able to create new practices, concepts and products are the ones that leadership development.
The third metaphor for describing learning was introduced by Paavola, Hakkarainen, and Lipponen. Innovative communities do not just use existing knowledge but create new knowledge and practices. That is, they are able to elaborate and advance existing knowledge.
The main focus of the acquisition metaphor is on gaining information that is already defined. The second, participation metaphor is used to describe how beginners become experts in a particular society.
Knowledge-creation metaphor sees learning and knowledge advancement as collective processes for developing new knowledge.
This may be a radical idea. That is, by providing learning opportunities we are not just transmitting knowledge or support learning implicit practices and norm. At their best, the learning programs we provide can support in advancing the practices and functioning of the whole organization.
There are many specific models for knowledge creation models, such as Bereiter’s knowledge building in classrooms, Nonaka and Takeuchi’s knowledge creation in product development and Engeström’s expansive learning describing how organizations learn.
These models describe how renewing practices and supporting people can be achieved. This is a challenging task, and taking on these models requires a significant commitment in the organization.
Even if you are not about to build a comprehensive program to renew practices drastically, this view on learning is something to keep in mind. Bringing in collaborative tasks, encouraging discussion and leaving space for serendipity may very well payout. Allowing learners to share their ideas, highlighting active contributors helps to create an atmosphere of vibrancy. Encouraging the participants to share best practices with one another and to discuss their experiences is a step towards a learning organization.
A shared collaboration platform with powerful analytics is an important part of providing opportunities to learn from peers when using use within the digital solutions and engaging through professional learning communities.
This is something, we work every day with when we support our Claned platform users in their quest for improved learning experience and results. We do this as we believe in learning and its positive impact on individual and communities.