Digital learning ecosystems

The learning ecosystem already exists. Inside every organisation we have environments, tools and activities for formal learning as well as those for non-formal but continuous learning. People and organisations also acquire information through interaction with the outside, starting from the closest relationship circles, such as customers and suppliers, up to the wider ones available through the thousands of real and virtual networks made possible by globalisation. The awareness that we undergo continual experiences of open and connected training enhancements is the starting point for planning digital Academies able to develop hi-impact learning environments. The organisation and its system of relations represent a conceptual landscape, in which every realm of knowledge can be explored from different points of view, crossed and crossed again by travelling along different routes. Let us look at the steps we can take in our organisation to gain awareness of what already exists and to manage a digital learning ecosystem. First step. First of all, it is necessary to map what already exists: which communication and training environments are available to the organisation? Which internal resources are there, which external resources are accessible? In this phase we create a strong awareness of everything that makes up the ecosystem: e-learning platform, intranet, PowerPoint, training material, procedures, mobiles, but also external resources that can be accessed through the network. Second step. Create relations,innovate, develop. The planets of the digital learning ecosystem are not isolated, but can be connected by means of innovation tools and initiatives, such as Open Badge and e-portfolio, gamification, ProjectWork, LearningPlan, recommended systems,Libraries and personal libraries, APP, Big Data, talent, etc… These are just some of the tools for developing the ecosystem, innovating it and therefore causing it to grow and improve. Once the relationships between existing resources, environments and methods have been identified and once the nodes of the network have been connected, a model is implemented to govern the system that can be defined as the training GPS, with the goal of managing all the data needed to orientate an effective training strategy. The GPS does not take the place of the systems and resources that already exist but connects them together and by means of data coming from these systems drives the business intelligence of the company training system. The model helps you to understand where you are, what all the training opportunities at your disposal are, and once the goals to be reached have been identified, helps you to get there. As a person you can explore the ecosystem according to the role, the content required or the skill to be developed. Third step. Involve and train people on the use and supply of the system. Lastly, let us not forget that it is essential to communicate the innovation and to involve people in the development and supply of the environments, moving from the linearity of the top-down administration to a circular model, where the person is at the same time the consumer and producer of the training environment (prosumer). Furthermore, by combining periods of other-directed learning in which the organisation plans and promotes paths concerning the organisation’s strategic goals, with periods of self-directed training, we can build up a host of learning stories and personalised experiences, genuine constellations of tailor-made knowledge. The people will be at the same time beneficiaries and creators of the ecosystem, becoming the main players. Franco Amicucci

written by: Franco Amicucci , 14 December 2015

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