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

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  1. Daniel Wilson

    Living in a “or AND and” world

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    Jennifer Garvey Berger reminds us of the Cynefin framework that describes two world states: the predictable world (obvious and complicated) and the unpredictable world (complex and chaotic). DW: I’m reminded that these four “worlds” are both objective and subjective. That is my 7 year old might experience something as chaotic or complex while I might experience it as obvious or complicated. Also, while I also appreciate this framework, where things often get tricky for me is when these worlds become nested – inside a “complex” experience or problem, there often are “complicated” and “obvious” sub-problems. So diagnosing the nature of a problem feels like the right move, toggling between the worlds in real-time is often the big challenge. How to create the spaces, tools, structures that support the skills but also the toggling feels tricky.
  2. Daniel Wilson

    Learning & Performing (Chris Kayes)

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    A big idea that I took away was the role of curiosity and safe risks to support individual and group learning. And I’m wondering how the opposite of curiosity and safe risk -- confidence and “safe routines” – might work against learning and support performance. My guess is that In short, Kayes noted from his work that a key individual factor that predicts learning is “open to new experiences.” A key team processes that predict learning is psychological safety and supervisory support. DW: Being open to novelty is a hallmark of conceptual frameworks of curiosity. And that makes intuitive sense in terms of the role it plays in individual learning. Psych safety and the leader role are also well established in team learning literature, so good to see it here. However, it raises a question in me: I wonder how their opposites, such as indifference, confidence, normality, and routines, might explain individual and team performance?
  3. Daniel Wilson

    Reflections on Learning & Performance

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    Comment
    A big idea that I took away was the role of curiosity and safe risks to support individual and group learning. And I’m wondering how the opposite of curiosity and safe risk -- confidence and “safe routines” – might work against learning and support performance.
  4. Marga Biller

    Usable Knowledge: The 3 Stances towards Learning at Work

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    Most of the skills we need to do our jobs — the ability to complete tasks, collaborate with colleagues, circumvent obstacles, and plan for future assignments — are skills we learn at work, not before. But when employees learn by doing, they don’t always recognize when and how the learning is happening — and likewise do not consider the best ways to optimize their learning as they carry out tasks.
  5. Marga Biller

    Journal of Workplace Learning Publishes LILA Research on Informal Learning Conversations

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    Informal learning conversations with colleagues is a powerful yet understudied source of self-directed, professional development. This study investigated the types of learning 79 leaders from 22 organizations reported they learned from 44 peer-led conversations over a two-year period. Survey data suggests empirical evidence of five learning outcomes – informational, conceptual, operational, reflective, and social learning. The study describes these categories, the overall distribution of these types of learning in the community, and how most conversations were “rich” in a particular outcome. It concludes with possible explanations for these patterns as well as potential lines for future research.
  6. Marga Biller

    Paradoxical Leadership Introduction by Dr. Wendy Smith

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    Comment
    Dr. Smith, who had spoken to LILA last year in a member call, framed her keynote presentation today around the question of “What is the nature of paradoxes?” She expressed that her goal for this talk was to provide us with level-setting language to inspire reflections, push-back, and questions over the course of this conference and beyond. Her follow-up talk tomorrow will focus on potential approaches we can apply to manage and leverage the paradoxes we face in our organizations and daily lives. She suggested that, over the next year, one possible measure of success we may want to use is to see if we can shift viewing our challenges from “problematic” to a “source of possibility.”
  7. Katie Heikkinen

    Flexpertise and Productive Disruptions by Michelle Barton

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    Michelle began her talk by suggesting that in complex, dynamic and unpredictable situations, flexpertise resides in a process of collective knowing and not as a store of aggregated individual knowledge. Drawing from studies of wildland firefighters among others, we discuss how flexpertise can be created through operational processes designed to simultaneously engage different parts of the system to discern, interpret, and respond to dynamic conditions. We argue that organizational systems have patterned ways of behaving and relating and these patterns can be counterproductive in times of dynamic uncertainty. One aspect of flexpertise is the ability to halt dysfunctional momentum by deliberately introducing creative, productive disruptions—short sense-making breaks that interrupt a group’s habitual response patterns. When groups pause and reflect on their own patterns, they are better able to identify and apply relevant expertise when and where it is needed and to create new, adaptive solutions. Because flexpertise (in this case) is collective, cooperative, and fluid, there are also critical implications for managing the relational systems underlying operational processes and for leaders who want to build ‘flexpert’ systems.

Harvard Graduate School of Education