The degree to which a learning event is controlled by either the facilitator or the learner can be mapped on a continuum. At one end, the “teacher” end, you have lectures and also published media such as videos, books and blog posts. At the other end, the “learner” end, you have self managed learning which includes interesting concepts such as T groups, action learning and reflective practice. Then along the continuum there is training, coaching, mentoring and a whole host of other interventions to help the learner learn – including directing them to useful videos, books and blog posts.
In the last few years there has been an understanding that learners learn
- through a variety of means
- mostly by actually doing stuff and then reflecting on that
- best when they are not bored out of their tiny (constantly expanding) minds.
The drive towards learner centred learning is to be embraced, encouraged and celebrated. Hooray! The 70:20:10 model tells us to value all that lovely reflective, learner driven gorgeousness. But…
With this drive I’m noticing a massive push towards throwing the baby out with the bath water; dropping the 10%.
- Putting people into small groups and then getting them to chat about stuff without some direction to help stimulate the conversation. This can be a rather lazy (and frankly dull) way of filling in some time. People actually like something meaty to talk about; a bit of grit in the oyster. Get them to talk purposefully.
- Deriding lectures. However, the sage on the stage may actually have something interesting to say. Let them say it. The learner will work out for themselves what is useful and interesting. They’ll also process this information at a subconscious level and use it at some point.
- Assuming that every course is some sort of low quality sheep dip. On the contrary, done well, a course might be exactly what someone needs. Showing someone how to do something is not a bad practice.
When you learned to drive (those of you who did) most of your learning came after you passed your test, when you were left on your own and had to get on with it. A lot of learning came from your instructor (and possibly your mum, dad or other) sitting beside you asking questions such as “What do you need to think about here?” or suggesting that maybe there is a better way to pull away from a junction than in third gear. (Just me?) But I’m quite sure that if on your first lesson the instructor had said “Let’s just start the engine and see what happens” you probably would have got out of the car.
Drive for quality- yes in all things. Social learning is amazing if it’s the right thing at the right time. Reflective practice is brilliant if it is based on context and at a deep level. And being taught something can be just exactly what’s needed. Don’t throw away the 10%.