Thursday, November 26, 2015

Learning Culture Environments--Developing a Learning Portal-Part I

In the quest to transform a business organization's learning culture, it is important to consider the resources necessary to support such a challenge. To guide us in this quest, it is essential to be very much aware of how learners in this connected age use technology as a means to pursue individualized learning. The recent movement towards developing mobile learning where a learner can use any device anywhere there is high speed Internet access, 24/7 is becoming an important factor not only in formal learning but also in informal learning. In some major cities such as New York, plans are in place to develop Wanfi in which no matter where you are in the city, you have access to the web. The concept of "wifi hotspots" will soon become a curious artifact of this age.


The Formal and Informal Learning Environments

Ideally, a learning culture should include a formal and informal learning component in order to be complete. In the formal learning environment, the use of a blended E-Learning approach would produce the best results. In such an approach the following characteristics would be evident:

  • The Learning Principles Expert in collaboration with the Instructional Designer would focus on designing irresistibly engaging learning experiences in which the learners play active interactive roles.
  • The use of problem based scenarios and simulations in an online environment would be used where collaboration among learners in the assigned tasks is a key skillset that would be developed and assessed.
  • The role of the trainer would be as the "guide or mentor on the side" rather than the "sage on the stage". The trainer could take on an interactive role within the scenario or simulation where he or she helps guide by interacting with learners by asking them important questions during different points in the simulation or scenario. The purpose of the questions is to help the collaborative group clarify their decision making.
  • Immediate and credible feedback is received by the learners. It is the experiential element of this approach that leads to a deeper, sustainable level of understanding.
An important upgrading in IT resources is needed in order to transform the learning culture into a learning culture that is able to support both formal and informal learning. There are many companies that attempt to do effective blended and virtual E-Learning with network structures that are out of date.

The Learning Portal 
 One of the purposes of the learning portal is to promote collaboration and innovation by connecting with designed network structures beyond the walls of the organization. In order to do this globally, we can break learning portals into collections of networks or hubs that service a given area of the globe. The diagram below is an example of a collection of collaborative networks that serve as a template to conceptualize what a learning portal might look like. The arrows represent the pathways for collaboration among networks. Each of the networks have a specific function important to the development of the learning culture for an organization. The reason for the development of such hubs is to overcome the problem of asynchronous access for the purpose of collaboration. So what this means is that a group of employees could login to the learning hub which would then connect them to the network that they wish to collaborate in.This particular learning hub would represent one of six defined areas of the globe.


 These structures I have described before but with the advancement of technology since that time, we now have the capability to develop them. Within each of the network structures, interaction can take place in an immersive environment or a variation of it. An example of a regional learning hub is shown below:

A description of the function of each of these networks in relation to the learning culture for an organization will be in my next post.

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