S.S. Eureka, paddle steamer "Eureka" seen at the San Francisco Maritime Museum (Dave Wilson/flickr.com)

Eureka

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

If informal learning constitutes an important way in which we learn, adapt and grow, it is important to be able to describe when, where, and how such learning occurs. Only then can we determine how the organization might provide or improve an enabling environment. We can begin such a process by recalling “aha” moments of significant learning or problem-solving that occurred outside of formal training contexts – and then asking questions about how we identified the problem, what strategies we used to tackle it, what surprised us, and, of course, what were the outcomes. The “aha moment” is a point in time, event, or experience when one has a sudden insight or realization. It has also been referred to as the eureka (“I found it”) effect. The “aha” moment is a kind of coming together of learning, made compelling because the solution identified may allow for perfect alignment with work. …

Salvador Dali, Chess Set, 1971 (Andrew Russeth/flickr.com)

Accidents happen

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

Question: Why were you looking at their data? Answer: Just out of interest to see. We recognize that some of our most significant learning may occur by accident, as a byproduct of some other activity such as task accomplishment, interpersonal interactions, or trial-and-error experimentation. Where informal learning may be sometimes intentional and more possibly planned, incidental learning is semi-conscious. Call it learning by accident. Call it serendipity. Surprise comes with a new realization, when we are not looking explicitly for answers: The element of surprise may actually be conducive to making the learning “stick”. Outside of “aha” moments which remain exceptional, incidental learning grows slowly through a process of accretion. New insights come when you do not expect them, whether in formal or informal spaces. Incidental learning is embedded into work. Incidental learning depends on context and purpose for its significance. Discovering a new way to do something new has immediate meaning  only if the …

Contradiction – Kyoto Train Station (Stéfan/flickr)

Dialectics

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

4:35 p.m. “My working hypothesis is that the learning that matters is mostly incidental and informal.” “Maybe,” he smiled. “Yet, my conviction that we need to explore this is grounded in my formal training in knowledge management.” 5:17 p.m.  “When we are under-funded and overwhelmed,” he sighed, “is just not the right time to go off on a tangential project!” “I won’t argue with you. Let us go through with it to determine how useless it is to trade short-term survival tactics for long-term strategic thinking.”   Photo: Contradiction, Tokyo train station (Stéfan/flickr).