Who owns the learning?
Who owns your learning, more precisely? Your learning, as a process oriented towards whatever objective you currently have. Of course, the first intention of an answer would be “I do, of course”.
Still, if we give some moments of reflection we might find that the apparent simplicity of this question get us to the complexity of the answer. As our learning, even if we do not have a specific objective, is highly influenced in different ways and amplitudes by other factors. In their recent book “Creating a Learning Society – A New Approach to Growth, Development, and Social Progress” the authors J. E. STIGLITZ, and B. C. GREENWALD describe the “major determinants of learning: (1) learning capabilities; (2) access to knowledge; (3) the catalysts for learning; (4) creating a creative mindset—the right cognitive frames; (5) contacts—people with whom one interacts—which can catalyze learning, help create the right cognitive frame, and provide crucial inputs into the learning process; and (6) the context for learning.” (STIGLITZ, J. E., B. C. GREENWALD, Creating a Learning Society – A New Approach to Growth, Development, and Social Progress, Columbia University Press, 2014).
If we take the main actors involved in the learning process
The educator (teacher, professor, trainer, facilitator, coach, manager, leader, mentor)
The group (class, team, organization)
we may find various levels of the learning process ownership, levels that are dynamic, moving with the velocity of change, which ultimately lead to a greater need for self-learning.
The abilities output of the learning process
However, if we look just at the learning output of knowledge acquisition, self-learning need might be resolved in the near future, as “We’re heading towards a world of perfect knowledge. With a trillion sensors gathering data everywhere (autonomous cars, satellite systems, drones, wearables, cameras), you’ll be able to know anything you want, anytime, anywhere, and query that data for answers and insights.” (The World in 2025: 8 Predictions for the Next 10 Years , by Peter Diamandis).
The abilities output of the learning process for the technical skills is already partly ensured by augmented reality technologies. Yet, for soft skills, I believe we still have a long way to render the necessary finesse in the learning technologies that could change a customer care behavior in an empathic one or to make a leader inspire his team. As Jane Hart puts it when she speaks about the shift ‘From “knowledge worker” to “learning worker”[…]: What is far more valuable than knowledge is the ability to learn new things and apply those learnings to new scenarios and environments. This is what the employee of the future needs to focus on, “learning to learn.”’
For the educator actor, even if it looks that every day he owns lesser of the learning process, once with the MOOCs appetite in students and all other learning technologies like e-learning, his role changes in a facilitator, not only in flipping classrooms, but by using more a model with active learning as this research finds. He can also enhance his role as a constant needs identifier at individual or group level and as learning guide, showing the learner the optimal way to change his behavior, attitudes, skills and knowledge.
As I will leave the group and society actors implications for another article, I am asking you: Why do you think it is important to assess and understand at a certain moment in our professional life, in our organizational development cycle or even at the society level Who owns the learning?