4.1 LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS

Why adopt and celebrate Learning Power?

Learning is a life skill. Unfortunately, until relatively recently, learning was regarded as a term associated with formal education and thereby, the subject matter that those institutions were qualified to impart to their students. However, Learning Power, or ‘how’ we learn and our use of learning begins at birth. Our understanding of it is developed, to a greater or lesser extent, during the years of formal education and, whether we recognize it or not, instrumental in the way in which we live the rest of our lives.

The ‘how’ of learning that is provided within the educational establishment is essential to the emotional, cognitive, social and strategic development of every one of us and the reason why every institution should be encouraged to:

  • list Learning Power as a critical success factor in scoping its vision for the future;
  • develop Learning Power as integral to a curriculum that gives equal weight to both content and learning to learn;
  • create, and use, a language of learning that will remain meaningful for life;
  • celebrate change in the learner, regardless of how that might have been achieved.

Learning Power can be assessed at any age from 8 years old using the research-validated Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory, known affectionately as ELLI. ELLI has just 7 easily recognizable and understandable dimensions and uses a language that can be adapted and re-titled for use in any environment. Dig deeper and there is a total of 17 underlying habits and behaviors.

The message is very clear. It is only by knowing how we learn best, our strengths and weaknesses among the 7 dimensions, that will fit us to cope with change. And, of course, change there will be always be with us. There comes a time when rather than being presented with content we become responsible for adding new knowledge to what we already know, in other words, self-directing our learning.

So, Learning and changing are with us for life.

Every ‘Learning Journey’ needs a ‘Road Map’!

The Learning Quality Framework (LQF), as presented here, provides a set of staged descriptions and progressive milestones leading to the development of a ‘learning’ school.  It captures the spirit and substance of what a learning school does to ensure that all of its people become better learners. We are working on extending this to a wider audience but its principles remain constant for every organization for whom learning is a critical success factor.

The Framework uses twelve principles with which to examine different aspects of an organization’s culture. It deals with such as the vision for learning; how leaders lead a learning-oriented organization; how classroom practice works in a learning environment; how assessment and the curriculum are best designed to build learning habits; and how, in this case, the school acts on its own learning.

The Learning Quality Framework (LQF) serves 3 invaluable functions …

As a diagnostic instrument it enables assessment of where the organization is on its learning journey. By matching current practice against the twelve LQF principles, organizations can assess progress, and so identify areas of development.

As a formative instrument the LQF provides a clear set of guidelines for planning the way forward. From an audit of ‘what is’, which the framework provides, the organization can develop a strategic overview of its next steps.

As a summative instrument, it gives schools an external view of their progress through an external assessment and the award of a LQF quality mark. Developing a culture in which real world learning thrives is not insignificant, so stages along the way are worth recognizing and celebrating. A school’s progress can be publicly validated and accredited), as and when it feels ready to seek accreditation.

Learning-Powered Organizations: Competitiveness and Market Advantage