Crossing Golden Gate (Noël/

I have no idea

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

What do we do when we cannot achieve certainty? We increasingly accept that we need to make decisions without the comfort of certainty. It is okay to not know. It is healthy to accept the unknown as we no longer seek certainty. It is when we are no longer certain that we learn. In some cases, uncertainty opens the door to knowledge that we were not seeking. This is incidental learning. The organization still expects certainty. Some of our leaders demand it. As working professionals, we are expected to provide answers, i.e. to know. Yet our expertise is increasingly in our ability to respond when faced with new contexts (for example, new technologies, reduced budgets, or changes in political leadership), new challenges (for example, Ebola or noncommunicable diseases) where learning is the process of constructing viable but context-specific answers. We straddle between expectations that we know (as experts) and the …

Islamic mosaic pattern (Jörg Reuter/

Patterns and trends

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

How do we navigate these rules while achieving intended purpose? When we need new knowledge, where do we go? How do we go about it? How do we limit our exploration to ensure that we can still deliver on our tasks? What if we need to upset or question assumptions about how we work in order to find the answers we need (learn)? Wherever we may sit in the organization – from the headquarters in the capital city to the field –, our field of vision cannot possibly span the global complexity we face. When we analyze a situation or a new problem, we are looking for patterns. We build the “muscle” of pattern recognition through practice. This is where we mobilize our experience, which sometimes manifests itself as intuition. As we gain experience, we learn to trust our intuition and deepen the insights we bring to dialogue with our …

Conversations.1 Stills from a music video for The Hole Punch Generation (Gwen Vanhee/

Dialogue and inquiry

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

We learn from each other through dialogue and inquiry. We are excited that we can participate in a rich, diverse world of different perspectives and opinions. Conversation, as George Siemens says, is the “ultimate personalization experience. We ask questions and offer views based on our own conceptions. We personalize our knowledge when we socialize” (Siemens 2006:42). Newcomers may find dialogue and inquiry to be lacking, but this may be in part that they have yet to learn the unwritten rules of our learning culture. These unwritten (tacit) yet sometimes rigid rules of engagement frame how we may respond to each other’s knowledge needs, especially in group contexts. Confusion or even anger may result when breaking this culture of consensus. In formal settings, our organizational culture of consensus prevails. Disagreements are seldom expressed overtly. Decisions may be made in informal settings, and meetings then serve to make public what has already …