Jello in mid-air while running (Tony Cyphert/flickr.com)

Faster

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

We need to learn faster, to deliver results faster. We find ways to accelerate knowledge development. And yet, although we acknowledge the need to focus on task completion, we accept that our shared learning takes time to build trust and deepen understanding before it can be turned into action. In many cases, we know that the most powerful forms of learning come from surviving stretch assignments – where we tackle new tasks or problems that appear unsolvable that appear to be beyond our capacity and experience. Stretch assignments – not explicitly named or recognized as such – are common in our resource-scarce environment, despite our risk-averse culture.

Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island, the Navel of the World (Yulin Lu/flickr.com)

Trust

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

The strategies we use to anchor and filter rely on building trust in our working relationships. Learning together is grounded in a shared culture of openness and trust. For example, we trust each other to keep communication to the point. We mobilize different networks of trust, internal and external, based on need. This mutual trust is important as it provides for fast updates, problem-solving, and other forms of dialogue and inquiry – while limiting exploration and avoiding excessive detail. Photo: Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island, the Navel of the World (Yulin Lu/flickr.com).

'Tis the Season for Colourful out of Focus Subjects (Billy Wilson/flickr.com)

Focus

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

“Our challenge lies in focusing our insights. Distraction from what is important is a continual obstacle.” George Siemens (2006:136) How do we stay focused? How do we extract important knowledge? Anchoring is the act of staying focused on important tasks while undergoing a deluge of distractions. We anchor to pay attention even when we are overwhelmed by the volume and velocity of work. Filtering is how we extract important information. We face an abundance of information that is part of what makes us “busy”, our workload “stressful”, and means we have “no time”. We still spend much time to find what we need. We rely on a number of strategies to find and focus in order to complete the tasks, sometimes at the expense of the bigger picture. We expect technology to help. For example, we want not just a newsletter, but a newsletter on the specific keywords or topics that are …

Ebb and Flow (Alistair Nicol/flickr.com)

Currency

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

Knowledge skills are increasingly important due to the pace of change in knowledge. We know that staying current cannot rely solely on formal training. This is both because we seldom have the time and resources to stop our work in order to learn and because the pace of change is faster than our ability to capture and codify it as formal knowledge. The notion that I can know in myself what I need to know is no longer an ideal. Instead, we develop networks and activities to ensure we can access and contribute to the most-current knowledge. We look for knowledge sources that provide currency, authority, and speed of access. Some of us remain frustrated with abundance. Yet, we have learned to accept that abundance is not dysfunctional. It means one won’t read or know everything. The many available depersonalized, electronic channels (such as the keyword-based newsletters and searchable online …

Old rusted anchor chains at Falmouth Harbour (StooMathiesen/flickr.com)

Anchoring

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

 “Hitting a stationary target requires different skills of a marksman than hitting a target in motion.” – George Siemens (2006:93) We are all knowledge workers who struggle with knowledge abundance – too much information.   Our ability to learn is heavily dependent on our ability to connect with others. How well are we able to collect, process, and use information? Individually, we have learned the behaviors that enable us to anchor (stay focused on important tasks while undergoing a deluge of distractions), filter (extracting important elements), recognize patterns and trends, think creatively, and feel the balance between what is known with the unknown. These behaviors “to prioritize and to decipher what is important” are “a bit of an art”, we say. How do we learn them? These knowledge competencies – and the learning processes that foster them – are central to our everyday work, and require explicit reward and recognition (for example, in job …

Triceratops fossil, Galerie de Paléontologie du Jardin des plantes (Paris) (personal collection)

Dinosaur

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

“You’ll become a dinosaur if you don’t learn.” People in the organization recognize the need for change, see its value, see their own roles in the process, are willing to adopt new approaches, and possess the competence to move forward with change: At the individual level, we strive to consider each task, however mundane, as an opportunity to learn. Continual learning requires cooperation and collaboration with both internal (dialogue and inquiry) and external (connect to external systems) interlocutors. It is not “not knowing” that is the problem. It is often the lack of doing – a form of knowing. Meaningful connections are made explicitly based on need, rather than prescription, often to solve the problems at hand. Feedback is the key element in how we continually learn. We use feedback to adjust, acclimate, and adapt. We strive to leverage the tension between the learning we do to deliver results and the …

Sewer grill ecology

One size does not fit all

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

How does an organization’s leaders recognize, encourage, and reward both existing learning practices and positive change in learning behaviors that foster informal and incidental learning? Learning strategy recognizes the value of learning in all its forms, including informal and incidental learning, formal qualifications, and in-service formal education and training. One size does not fit all: the diversity of learning options also reflects the highly personalized nature of how each person organizes their own learning. However, learning strategy identifies learning activities that requires stopping work and dedicated resources as both difficult to apply and unlikely to be sustainable over time. Most of the learning that matters is, in fact, already embedded into daily problem-solving, dialogue and collaboration with colleagues and external partners. Members of the organization develop individual and team learning strategies as a matter of necessity – to get things done. Hence, the learning strategy seeks to recognize existing practices at least as …

Continuous movement (Matt Otto/flickr.com)

Nothing that we do can be taught

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

Many people in the organization recognize the need for change, see its value, see their own roles in the process, are willing to adopt new approaches, and possess the competence to move forward with change. “Nothing that we do can be taught”, they say, “so the challenge and the learning need is almost constant”. At the individual level, we strive to consider each task, however mundane, as an opportunity to learn. Continual learning requires cooperation and collaboration with both internal (dialogue and inquiry) and external (connect to external systems) interlocutors. It is not “not knowing” that is the problem. It is often the lack of doing – a form of knowing. Meaningful connections are made explicitly based on need, rather than prescription, often to solve the problems at hand. Feedback is the key element in how we continually learn. We use feedback to adjust, acclimate, and adapt. We strive to leverage …