Monday, August 28, 2017

Learning Plan for September 2017

September is just around the corner.  From a biking perspective, I can anticipate a few long bike rides in the cooler mornings.  From a learning perspective, it will be all about systems thinking, complex systems and visualization, combined with my ongoing interest in building bridges between individual learning, team learning and organizational learning.  This interest is based on the observation that individual learning is typically the purview of the Learning and Development (L&D) department within HR, while organizational learning may be in a completely different part of the organization, including under IT if it is perceived as part of a IT-based approach to knowledge management.  My gut tells me that part of the reason for the gap is that L&D tends to focus on formal learning approaches (aka training) while organizational learning is typically more experience-based.

Here's an initial half-baked insight/hypothesis:  The bridges to be built involve 1) reinforcing the informal, experience-based aspect of individual learning; and 2) strengthening corporate training based on experience-based organizational learning.

The question I will try to address is:  How can I apply systems thinking and related methodologies or tools to address complex systems to come up with a more integrated (systemic) approach to learning within organizations. 

A couple of secondary questions (which might confuse everything and send me down big rabbit holes):

  • How can learning itself benefit from systems thinking?
  • Can insight mapping support a systems thinking approach?

Here are my starting points:
  • Visible Thinking: Unlocking Causal Mapping for Practical Business Results (a book I recently discussed in a blog post)
  • SPACES MERL: Systems and Complexity White Paper (USAID 2016) ... which is where I learned about...
  • Systemigrams (visual representation of complex systems) and another book.....
  • Systems Thinking: Coping with 21st Century Problems (2008)
  • My own insight mapping practice as well as....
  • Previously posted insights about systems thinking and....
  • A need to clarify the difference between design thinking and systems thinking (I think I confuse them)
  • I also signed up for Degreed and I'd like to test how much I can get out of that learning platform for a rather narrow learning exercise as this one. 
Anticipated Outputs:
  • Extensive notes added to my Organizational Learning wiki (internal)
  • At least three blog posts and at least one integrative map (public website)
  • Draft presentation package for future use/adaptation, etc...
  • and if this all adds up to something of sufficient value, a post on LinkedIn.
How is this as a "learning plan" for September?
  • It's bounded in time and scope, though the scope could escape me as I dig deeper and a month might not be enough.
  • It has some intrinsic value for me in terms of learning.  Motivation to learn about this will NOT be a problem at all. I will need to schedule it as a core task to make sure sufficient time is allocated.
  • It spells out possible outputs which will force me to wrap up my own thinking and write things down in useful formats, contributing to other objectives, such as populating the blog with fresh insights and developing materials for presentations, possible lecturing/teaching or other forms of training/capacity building.
I shall see at the end of September if I achieved all that and where my expectations were off track.

This is my YOL (Year of Learning) after all.  I might as well make the most of it and plan for it.  I think it's called Walking the Talk. :)

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