I’ve been noticing tweets flying by on my twitterdeck today that mock organizations’ desire to implement, manage and measure social learning. I’ve been noticing how difficult it is to entice people to collaborate in a community. I’ve also been noticing how little real interaction happens in many of the “learning” experiences I’m attending, whether a class here at UMBC, for work – or even for quilting.
A phrase I’ve heard, “Lead, follow or get out of the way,” keeps running through my head, twisted a bit into “Learn, teach or get out of the way.” Why do trainers and instructional designers insert themselves unnecessarily between the learner and the content by over-designing courses, strictly following an agenda despite the learners’ real needs or not having time for questions or discussion? Or by really letting learners try things out and construct new knowledge from both successes and failures? Why do people let fear of looking inept keep them from learning new technology and ways to learn and work? I think those of us who incorporate informal learning – technology assisted or not – into our learning experiences will be way ahead of the game. And as learners, we need to get over the discomfort that comes with unfamiliar territory and trust that we’ll “get it.” I think Jeannette has modeled this beautifully in this class. She’s taught us a lot, but often has been most effective by getting out of the way so we can learn from ourselves and our community.