Speaking of effigies (Dayna Bateman/Flickr)

Make a wish

Reda Sadki Learning strategy, Thinking aloud, Writing

Is the CLO really the ‘fifth wheel’ in the organizational strategy wagon? Learning leaders tend to roll their eyes upward in sour-faced agreement about ending up as an after thought – after strategic alignment has been completed everywhere else in the organization, or being considered as a support service to enable and implement rather than a partner. So, what to wish for? First, I would wish for an organization that is mission-driven. This is what everyone wishes for, of course, so let me try to be specific. The mission should inspire, giving everyone something to strive for, to encourage people and structure to reinvent themselves to face global complexity – with clarity that reinvention is a constant, not a one-off. It would require strong leadership, not command-and-control, but modelling the values and practices of the organization and the acceptance that uncertainty requires calculated risk-taking, now and tomorrow. Such distributed leadership requires a strong, vocal chief executive attuned to the …

Lenses rainbow

Unified Knowledge Universe

Reda Sadki Content strategy, Learning design, Learning strategy, Writing

“Knowledge is the economy. What used to be the means has today become the end. Knowledge is a river, not a reservoir. A process, not a product. It’s the pipes that matter, because learning is in the network.” – George Siemens  in Knowing Knowledge (2006) Harnessing the proliferation of knowledge systems and the rapid pace of technological change is a key problem for 21st century organizations. When knowledge is more of a deluge than a trickle, old command-control methods of creating, controlling, and distributing knowledge encased in a container view do little to crack how we can tame this flood. How do you scaffold continual improvement in learning and knowledge production to maximize depth, dissemination and impact? A new approach is needed to apply multiple lenses to a specific organizational context. What the organization wants to enable, improve and accelerate: Give decision makers instant, ubiquitous and predictive access to all the knowledge in …

Pietro Perugino's usage of perspective in the Delivery of the Keys fresco at the Sistine Chapel (1481–82) helped bring the Renaissance to Rome.

Vanishing point

Reda Sadki Published articles, Writing

Two parallel lines look like they eventually converge at the horizon. Technology’s chase for digital convergence, say between television and the Internet, raises interesting questions of its own, starting with what happens at the ‘vanishing point’ – and how to get there. How about publishing and learning? Semantico has a blog post based on John Helmer’s lively chat with Toby Green, OECD’s head of publishing, and myself. Yes, publishing has already been transformed by the amazing economy of effort of technology. Now it is struggling to find meaning in the throes of the changing nature of knowledge (as it’s locked in, so to speak, by its container view of knowledge). In the past, an ‘educational’ publisher was a specific breed and brand. In the hyper-connected present, where knowledge is a process (not a product), publishers who have already transformed themselves at least once (that is, they are still around) now have to consider how to …

City view of Beirut, Lebanon on June 1, 2014. Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Scaling up critical thinking against extreme poverty

Reda Sadki Events, Interviews, Learning strategy, Writing

In three years, the World Bank’s e-Institute enrolled 50,000 learners through small, tutor-led online courses and webinars. Its first MOOC, run on Coursera’s platform for four weeks, reached 19,500. More MOOCs are in preparation, with the next one, based on the flagship World Development Report, launching on June 30th (details here). However, the need for scale is only one consideration in a comprehensive strategic vision of how learning innovation in all its forms can be harnessed to foster new kinds of leadership and accelerate development. In this candid conversation recorded at the Scaling corporate learning online symposium, I asked Abha Joshi-Ghani, the World Bank’s Director for Knowledge Exchange and Learning, to present some early data points from the Bank’s first MOOC, situating it within a broader history of engagement in distance and online learning. Joshi-Ghani describes the partnership, business and production models for its pilot MOOC. She also shares some early …

Opencast Mine / Tagebau - Garzweiler / NRW / Germany

Opening workplace learning

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud, Writing

For organizations, the paradigm of workplace learning remains focused on internal development of staff, on the premise that staff need to be learning to improve, if only to keep their knowledge and competencies current. In the past, education advocates struggled to gain recognition for the need to continually learn in the workplace. Opening workplace learning was difficult to justify or finance due to the economy of effort required to deploy educational activities. In today’s hyper-connected world, organizations can no longer afford to restrict their educational activities to their own staff. Nor can they rationally allow for such activities to be limited to ad hoc face-to-face ‘trainings’ that do not scale. They need to reach their target audiences through education if they want the knowledge they produce to have more than superficial impact. This is part and parcel of sustainability. Closed learning restricted to the workplace is the knowledge economy equivalent of strip-mining. Photo: Opencast Mine, Germany (TablinumCarlson/Flickr).

Much scaffolding, King's Cross Station, London

Back to London on Thursday to talk learning strategy for humanitarian and development organizations

Reda Sadki Writing

I’m looking forward to being back in London on Thursday 13 March for People In Aid’s Learning & Development network meeting. This group meets four times a year to discuss issues in which there is a shared interest across organizations. Previous topics have covered how to “measure” learning or the design of competency frameworks, for example. Recent projects presented at the meetings include Save The Children’s Humanitarian and Leadership Academy (a major project to scale up professionalization of the sector) or RedR’s competency framework for humanitarian training. Each meeting’s report is a short but often insightful summary around a project or theme, and can be found here. As for me, I’ll be sharing key insights from the European MOOC Stakeholders’ Summit as we try to figure out what these massive, open online courses might mean for the humanitarian and development sector. I’ll also share a couple of case studies documenting …

Meet Barbara Moser-Mercer, the lady who did MOOCs in a refugee camp

Reda Sadki Interviews, Video, Writing

I first heard her described as the “lady who did MOOCs in a refugee camp”. It was completely ambiguous what that meant, but certainly sparked my curiosity. Barbara Moser-Mercer is a professor at the University of Geneva and a  cognitive psychologist who has practiced and researched education in emergencies. I finally caught up with her at the Second European MOOC Summit.  

The MOOC Tornado

European MOOC Summit: What looks tasty – for organizations thinking about transforming how they learn

Reda Sadki Events, Writing

This is a quick overview of what I found of interest for international and non-governmental organizations in the program of the Second European MOOC Summit – possibly the largest and probably the most interesting MOOC-related event on the Old Continent – that opens tomorrow at Switzerland’s MIT-by-the-Lake, EPFL. The first interesting thing I found in the program is that it includes an instructional session, titled “All you need to know about MOOCs”. Indeed, the more I meet and talk to people across a variety of international and non-governmental organizations, the more it is obvious that the so-called “hype” has remained circumscribed to a fairly narrow, academic circle – despite international media coverage and a few million registered users. That makes it both smart and relevant to offer a primer for anyone attending the conference who is discovering MOOCs, before they get plunged into the labyrinth of myth, paradox and possibility that …

Alligator trumps turtle

Learning beyond training, to survive and grow

Reda Sadki Writing

Humanitarian organizations already organize and deliver training on a massive scale. For example, the Red Cross and Red Crescent train 17 million people each year to practice life-saving first aid, in addition to the training of its 13.6 million active volunteers. Training has been tacitly accepted as the primary mechanism to prepare volunteers and staff for humanitarian work, from the local branch (community) to the international emergency operations (global). However, the humanitarian sector lacks a strategic approach for learning, education and training (LET), despite a widely-acknowledged human resource and skills shortage. In addition, the sector is deeply ensconced in face-to-face training culture, with many humanitarian workers earning at least part of their livelihood as trainers, and training events are key to developing social and professional networks but not necessarily to developing key competencies needed in the field. Whatever its merits, this approach to training cannot scale up to face the …