Monday, 16 July 2007

Three Segments of Learners (explored via a powerful metaphor)

Jay Cross in his book 'Informal Learning' provides (in my opinion) a very powerful metaphor for exploring three segments of learners.

He describes the categories as:

  • NOVICE WORKER - directed
  • MATURE WORKER - self-directed
  • SENIOR WORKER - helping other

which I equate with:

  • NOVICE - for whom formal training is well suited to drive learning
  • COMPETENT - for whom coaching is well suited to drive learning
  • EXPERT - for which peer-to-peer dialogue (including blogs ?!) is well suited to drive learning

see my first posting -

Acording to Jay Cross:

  • Formal Learning is like: 'riding on a bus'
  • Informal Learning is like: 'driving a car' (for self directed, mature workers) & 'riding a bicycle' (for senior workers)

He states 'Training departments are adept at creating bus routes: often they have little to do assisting drivers and bikers'.

What struck me about the metaphor is that the learner who is 'Competent' is self-directed (ie has, or needs, increased freedom to take a journey - compared with the 'Novice' bus passenger).

Equally, compared to the 'Expert' cyclist they need some form of engine/propulsion to help them get to their destination. The cyclist, on the other hand has both the freedom to explore non-conventional or unchartered routes, AND is self-reliant on propelling their progress. how do we as Learning Professionals assist the drivers & bikers ?


maps - illustrating options (quickest routes vs. scenic routes to a known destination)

training in how to drive/ride (focus on building competency in handling the 'tools' for transportation)

providing motivation & encouragement (especially to self-powered cyclists)

....and I'm sure there are a lot more ideas this metaphor can stimulate (given time/reflection)