A Learning Light consultancy approach 

We first came across the term “Learnscapes” in Jay Cross’s work Informal Learning, (2007), an excellent work on a vital topic, into which Jay outlines the concept of the Learnscape.

So what is meant by a Learnscape – this is the problem, it in some ways has no boundaries or fixed formats, it is as Jay puts it a “Learning Eco-System.” It is a node based organism made up of content and context and may or may not involve any or many of the following: “community of practises, story telling, simulation, dynamic learning portals, social network analysis, expertise location, presence awareness, workflow integration, search technology, help desks, spontaneity, personal knowledge management, mobile learning and co-creation!”

Jay Cross and colleagues most recent work has coined the term Workscape, I am more minded to use the term “Farscape” after the wonderful sci-fi series bringing together a whole disparate assortment of aliens seeking to get along by sharing a common purpose – survival. Naturally they a lead by a human being!

I digress to make a point; e-learning is blessed with having some of the most thoughtful and imaginative “thought leaders” of any industry segment who with great vision can see far into the future.

However much of what is seen and predicted can be quite alien (pun intended) to many organisations, who are perhaps considering how to put such innovative models into practise. However, the issue we come across in our work with L&D professionals is how do I express what I am seeking to achieve, and where on earth (or otherwise) do I begin?

To us the Learnscape model is infact the coming together of e-learning, Information systems and Knowledge management. We would argue that this is the alignment or collision where the “Learnscape” is going to be created.

This collision zone is not new, in our view, e-learning has in many ways sat at a collision point between HR, L&D, ICT and Business Organisational change and development requirements, and this is why it is so difficult in many organisations to progress with an e-learning project.

Our approach to creating the “Learnscape” leans heavily toward information systems planning and we are indeed indebted to the work of Xavier Gilbert for providing a framework where an organisation can explore its learning culture and environment seek to evolve a learning eco-system that aligns to its needs and requirements.

The Learning Light approach to creating the “Learnscape” looks at understanding how an organisation goes about “information gathering”, and the openness of the organisation toward information. We would then seek to understand how the information is “Conceptualized” – how the information is synthesised and is used to enrich the organisation.

The “Action Learning” – the effort and activities required to translate what has been gathered, synthesized and put into results.

The final stage – the key element that in many ways will lead to the completion of the Learning Organisation is the “Reflection and Renewal” – indeed what went well and what didn’t, on an ongoing basis.

To complete the study, we would look across the organisation at its Leadership, Culture, Processes and infrastructure with a “deep dive” approach understanding how such issues as: how information is exchanged, how flexible is the organisations perspective, what is the level of action orientation and what is the state of organisational learning, – just four of the 20 or so themes the Learnscape Model explores.

If you would like to know more about the Learnscape appraoch, contact David.patterson@learninglight.com or call 0114 307 2358