We have to invite Learning to the party?!

December 14, 2010 at 7:21 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Earlier this year i participated in a  ‘100 Day Challenge’ – a GE Workout style experience where management identifies  a key issue or business challenge  and hands the task of solving it to a group of employees closer to the business – the challenge is to come up with a viable solution in 100 days and see it through to implementation.

Now this was an excellent experience for everyone involved – my team came up with a great proposal, the leadership team loved it and it’s currently being implemented. Sounds like a win-win situation right?


Fast forward 6 months and i am now involved in another similar 100 Day Challenge – this time on the design side. And it dawned on me that my previous experience lacked something very very important : the actual learning ! It’s not like we didn’t learn anything..we did. It just wasn’t an integral part of the process – it wasn’t an intentional part of the experience.  So that was a huge opportunity missed and a mistake that won’t happen again (at least when i’m on the design side).

So how are we tackling it this time round? Enter the Action-Reflection Learning methodology. It is the perfect fit for a 100 day challenge program. What it does is bring to the forefront the two key processes that are occurring : the actual task/challenge and the learning. It makes both an integral part of the experience – an intentional aspect.

You can read a bit more about Action-Reflection Learning here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_Reflection_Learning

Our program is now underpinned by some solid learning theories. We know the participants are going to learn a lot and we want to make sure that they are aware of what they are learning and can (somewhat easily) transfer this back to the workplace – all the while solving the challenge!

What are the building blocks? A set of learning principles – these guide the learning within the program – when we design we need to make sure that these are included (tacit knowledge, reflection, reinforcement, new mental models, social learning, self awareness and relevance).

Then we have different levels at which learning occurs (personal, professional, team and organizational) – when we design we need to make sure that we look at how to facilitate and maximize the learning at these different levels. What activities do we include, what resources do we make available, what support do the learners need, how do we make reflection a purposeful part of the process at all these levels?

This all ties into a competency framework. We work with internal SMEs, external coaches, a shiny new social network/learning platform and lots of thought into how to embed the learning and ensure transfer.

We still have a few months till D day – it will be interesting to see how it goes – i have a feeling it will be awesome !


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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ryan 2.0's blogroll, DeboraGallo. DeboraGallo said: What happened to Learning ?! How we are using Action-Reflection Learning https://ebites.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/171/ […]

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