LILA ~ Learning Innovations Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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  1. Daniel Wilson

    “Experiencing emergence, emerging experience” – Donald MacLean

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    Every emergent system, whether it be musical improv or dance, has a discipline. The discipline is critically important, it defines the process of how we craft our plan for interaction, the reality of the activity, how we experiment, and then how we make sense of that experimentation. We felt this in our opening activity! Along the we each person receives feedback. Negative feedback is information that drives a system back to a predetermined state. Positive feedback drives a system forward, away from predetermined states. In many ways this is how we manage the emergence.
  2. Daniel Wilson

    Frustrated or flourishing? Three ways we make sense of challenges at work

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    Sally Maitlis shared her research which revealed that, in the face of challenges, there are three pathways that workers take:   Identity Path: in the face of threats, they rely on their sense of who they are Contribution Path: in the face of threat, they try and use their skills to help Practice Path: in the face of challenges, they learn skills as part of the work   What’s important is that these paths explain different outcomes of employees – the identity and contribution paths lead to frustration, burn-out and leaving the organization. Only the practice path, which is about...
  3. Daniel Wilson

    Growing through loss: How we make sense from trauma

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    How do people overcome devastating and traumatic experiences and grow? Sally studied artists who experienced injuries that resulted in which they couldn’t do their art anymore. These are experienced as highly distressing, traumatic, and threatens their core identity. It’s about loss. These events trigger sensemaking: who am I? What is my place in the world?   People who grow from these events create meanings: The injury as growth or loss: while painful, it helped them grow by opening up new worlds and possibility, made them stronger, or revealed some deeper struggle that could be resolved. Others didn’t grow and instead...
  4. Daniel Wilson

    When we are uncertain, we turn to our group

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    Michael Hogg’s shared his research on the role social identity and uncertainty. Just giving a groups a categorical names can create in group and out group dynamics: individuals trust, favor and conform to their in group and distrust, discriminate, and compete with the out group.   This research forms the foundation of social identity theory – the relationship between self and group. And what motivates this is often feeling better about oneself.   Michael’s work looks more specifically at a specific kind of uncertainty, identity uncertainty.   Overall, individuals are motivated to reduce uncertainty. And there are many sources of identity uncertainty –...
  5. Daniel Wilson

    The social structure of cultural change: Damon Centola

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    A dominant theory cultural norms are functional, but Damon provoked us to consider that there are cases in which norms are not functional at all, and can even be dysfunctional. Conformity norms stifle speaking up, for example which is seen in the Emperor’s New Clothes story and Stalin’s Russia. Such norms often comes from some sense of exogenous authority that dictate a behavior (political science), or sense of what is better (behavioral economics), or snow-ball effects of what’s popular (sociology). But all of these explanations assume there is awareness of all these things and they are valuable in some way....
  6. Daniel Wilson

    Where the tipping point missed the point

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    Damon Centola’s work unpacked assumptions in networks that related to how ideas/behavior spread through networks via “strong vs. weak” ties.  For many years, and argued well in Gladwell’s Tipping Point, the belief was that all ideas spread like viruses through networks. Daemon’s work points out that what is important is the distinction between simple contagions (ideas/actions that requires a single contact) vs complex contagions (ideas/actions that require multiple contacts and social reinforcement). Many cultural practices require social reinforcement, particularly when there is uncertainty & risk, run against norms, or interdependence with other technologies. What is important to know is how complex...
  7. Daniel Wilson

    Why tightness is terrible and terrific

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    Michele Galfand’s work in social psychology explores how micro changes in behaviors connect to larger shifts in values in cultures? Her work has looked the effect of social norms across cultures. Her concept is that there are qualitative differences in tight groups (with strong norms, litter tolerance for deviance, more orderly) vs. loose groups (weak norms, high tolerance for deviance, less orderly). Her research showed that tight groups coordinate well amidst threats of survival, both human made (e.g. tribal conflicts) and natural (e.g. natural disasters).  Tightness can be activated, too, by real of natural threats. And the situations, such as libraries...
  8. Daniel Wilson

    Conversational Moves That Matter: Bridging Learning Outcomes and Patterns of Speech in Informal Cross- Organizational Conversations Among Top-Level Leaders

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    LILA Research published in Sage Publications: Cross-organizational “learning conversations” are an important source of informal learning among professionals, though little is known about whether specific characteristics of conversational interaction contribute to different learning outcomes in such conversations.

Harvard Graduate School of Education