Can ‘Travel’ be a Learning Model?

tour-bus-parkingThe quotes below come from yesterday’s #lrnchat session:

  • ‘Don’t need no SMEs [Subject Matter Experts]. Need subject matter networks instead.’ Jay Cross 
  • ‘Are tomorrow’s SME’s today’s customers?’ Harold Jarche
  • ‘I think the days of “designing learning” are numbered…research shows that people need a place/space to connect.’ – Jane Bozarth

The general theme surfacing along with the prevalence of Social Media (SoMe) and the availability of cool collaborative learning tools, in combination with Gen Y coming through the ranks – is that even corporate learning is [very slowly] coming to terms with more of a ‘provide the tools that encourage learning’ approach, instead of a one-way information dictatorship.

If there’s one thing that I re-learned at DevLearn09 it’s that the old saying: ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink’ rings very true. Or alternatively and maybe more appropriate: ‘you can put a man through school but you cannot make him think’ (now I’m quoting Ben Harper lyrics).

But new social and collaboration tools mean even the ‘reluctant’ learner – and those Gen Y’ers – can create their own canvases to share knowledge and in doing so, they help chisel out the learning needs of the group and pro-actively find the answers.

I’ve always considered ‘travel’ to be the ultimate learning experience. Travel is usually a voluntary choice as a result of a pro-active decision. It’s often about putting yourself in to unfamiliar situations where you must adapt, learn new languages, culture, history, life skills, art – you name it – and it’s such a fun way to learn! Therefore, maybe a very positive form of learning comes when a learner voluntarily places them self in to an unfamiliar environment and has to adapt?

Following that logic the new wave of learning could well be more about the acquired knowledge base that develops as a result of an organization putting itself in to the ‘unfamiliar territory’ represented by the social media, collaboration, and knowledge sharing tools and adapting. It’s kind of like a package tour where all learners are safely seated inside the bus (organization), yet they are exposed to and can safely interact with the new environment on their own terms, and learn.

Now, just to solve the problem that ‘traveling’ isn’t everyone’s cup of tea…