Where does managed learning stop and self-managed learning begin?

I was recently asked this question: Where does “managed learning” stop and “self-managed” learning begin?

So I created a chart ,which I am sharing below, to visualise my thoughts. I am sure there are a few other boxes that could be included – or be re-labelled (so I’m updating this chart regularly – now on version 6), but this puts my recent posts into context. I suppose I should also mention this is not a sequential process; this chart simply displays “activities” as either managed or self-managed.

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 12.11.27

31 thoughts on “Where does managed learning stop and self-managed learning begin?

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  3. mark oehlert

    Jane, you know how much I admire all you do but is the phrasing of this maybe part of the problem? IMHO, there is no such thing as “managed learning” – there is training or performance support or any number of things that can be provided to someone but only the learner supplies learning and that can happen anywhere, any time. What if we drop the learning and just look for Managed or Provided and Self-Directed? That would indicate the locus of agency which I think is what you’re after.

    Nilofer Merchant, in 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra, wrote that “That’s because as soon as we make those boxes, we make something else too: space between the boxes. That space is always where things start to fall apart as our environment changes.” I kind of think that way too when I looked at your chart…instead of separate boxes, maybe the Self-Directed portion is more like mortar and fills in the spaces between the Provided boxes…just thinking anyway and thanks for having the conversation.

    1. Jane Hart

      Thanks Mark – I responded to your comment on Google+. But I will re-post it here

      Mark – thanks for your input. I do agree with you and it is certainly the LEARNING word that causes a lot of the problems. Trouble is as you know too well, most people only think of organisational learning in terms of something they provide/deliver/manage etc. I was just trying to differentiate between the “learning” that takes place that they can/do organise and manage and that which they can’t/don’t. The term “informal learning” is also now totally misunderstood so I am grappling for terms to express what I want to say. I’ve also found that when I DONT use the “learning” word and use other terms (eg “working smarter, then some people don’t think that they have any part to play in it. I know what you mean about boxes too … I guess this is such a difficult area to visualise. Some people obviously just “get” what I am trying to say without any charts or diagrams or boxes or whatever, but I have had others write to me and say things like “when you put it in that chart I realised what you were saying”. I suppose I am just trying different approaches to see what – if anything works – but I DO understand totally what you are saying, and thanks again for taking the time to make a comment on it. ?

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  6. Bill James-Wallace

    To Mark & Jane… I enjoyed that interplay about “learning”. I’m not trying to find the right word but it did make me think of “what was it referred to (not “called”)” PRIOR to the industrial age? Labels are useful, to a point, but as we see here, they can also get in the way. I don’t have the answer but I am trying to imagine life 150 years ago and how people just got on with gaining the knowledge to complete a job/task and be known to be very good at it. I think if I can find a simile or definition, it will help me develop my own case for advancing “learning” in my organisation.

    I do keep coming back to Harold Jarche’s “learning is work and work is learning”.

    (and now I’m not sure if that in put was helpful at all, but I’ll post it, even if it’s just so people can go “Huh?”)

    Cheers

    1. Jane Hart

      Thanks Bill – you are right, labels are getting in the way, and the biggest one is the LEARNING label, which is still understood by many in 19th century school-based terms, ie training/teaching (whether it be in the classroom or online). Unfortunately, Harold’s “work=learning learning=work” thinking is not understood by many, and for those who still hold the “old” definition in their head, believe it means activities like “OTJ training” ie organising/managing training in the workflow. I also think there is another problem, about not being able to “let go” and taking on a less command and control approach. But I guess that is party due to L&D departments having to be able to justify their existence through quantitative metrics – and course enrolments/completions is the easiest way to do that. Trying to isolate any learning support/scaffolding intervention as a part of business outcomes probably seems very difficult to them, so they keep out of the right-hand side of the chart, and stick with what they feel most comfortable with.

  7. wrubens

    I have a problem with your definition of e-learning. In my opinion e-learning is an ‘umbrella term’ for learning activities (organized and self organized) that are enhanced with technology (especially internettechnology). So learning on the job, using ICT, is e-learning as well. Therefore I would replace e-learning in your schedule with organized online/blended learning activities.

    1. Jane Hart

      Hi Wilfred – thanks for your input, Yes think you are right about the e-learning word – although once again -like the “learning” word it is used to describe different things. For the vast majority it does equal online courses not the full range of online learning activities/opportunities you refer to it. So I’ve changed it on the chart to “Online”. Once again the term “Blended” is used differently and still, for many, refers to mix of online/f2 – although I would also include “on-the-job”activities in the mix, so I’ve put in another label for that. Thanks again for taking the time to comment. Building this chart has highlighted to me the fact that we all hold different definitions about some of the key terminology – and are probably talking at cross purposes with one another a lot of the time!

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  25. Blair Rorani

    Part of any change is relating a new thing to a known / existing thing. All of these new / better ideas about learning experience design are great.

    The audience need to start from the terms / concepts they know / use and then be shown the link to new ideas.

    An iPod is a touch-screen Walkman right? But coming out and calling it an iPod wouldn’t sell many because people wouldn’t be able to link it to what they already knew.

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