Posts Tagged 'reflection'

Reflection, Dialog, and Supportive Environment Key to Adult and Organizational Learning

A digital story reflecting on my experience of the VCU MEd Adult Learning Program 

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AI – Let the sun shine in

ADLT 625 Change Strategies – Post 4

The Appreciative Inquiry mini conference was awesome! Very well-organized and smoothly run! I was actually quite pleasantly surprised! When reading the book, it seemed like there was just a bit too oozy of the positive tone in a few places. Maybe it was just the author’s enthusiasm carrying over. Anyway, from the reading I received a sense of the process, but the experience was quite different. (…Interesting, there it is again, how learning connects with experience! How crucial a role it has for me as far as meaningful learning goes… and then, of course, there is reflection, discussion…)

Hemeraby Kathryn McDonnell, www.kathrynmcdonnell.com
[Hemera was the Greek Goddess of the Day]

The guided interview was really a powerful process for me.  Through the paired interview we did and the sharing with just one other pair, there was a glimpse into what it might be like if one person did just 10 interviews. I thought it could really be infectious in spreading a positive buzz. The other aspects of the 4D cycle were also quite powerful. The positive energy really seemed to build through whole process, moving from discovery to dream, then design and then creating a vision of the future.

The creative activity also seemed quite powerful. I can understand better now how acting out a vision of the future brings in not only our emotions, but also our physical being. The idea that by acting something out through physical motion, participation, and expression, some sort of memory is stored not only in a cognitive sense based on words or statements, but also connected with our emotional and physical being.

I think through this mini experience and learning I could, with further study and preparation, consider participating in facilitating a larger event. I would still like to actually experience a larger scale AI, Future Search, or Open Space event. I can see there are differences in the approaches of each of these large group intervention processes. There could be situations where one or the other could better serve the purpose. It’s been a great opportunity to learn about all three . I think there are also aspects of each that could be helpful in situations that are not directly a part of a formal intervention process.


Making meaning – meaningful learning

Org Learning: Reflector Post 1

One thing that struck me when reading Dixon was that when we speak, we ‘tend to cognitively organize what we know.’ This was under the dialogue topic when referring to hallways of learning. This really resounds with me. I know that I speak up in my graduate classes much, much more than my earlier experience of formal education. I think the reason is that when I do speak out, it really helps me sort out when I’m thinking on the subject at hand. I think it’s often trying to relate prior knowledge/experience with the topic – something I have an understanding about with something new. Not only is it speaking out in class, but also whenever we have small group exercises and sometimes when walking out to the car after class with a classmate. These scenarios are much closer to the hallways Dixon refers to. I think it’s not just having the chance to speak and sort out my own ideas, but I also find that listening to others’ perspectives also helps me to check my own and perhaps reconsider my views.

Learning seems like such a journey! And it’s fascinating to stretch from individual to organizational learning. It seems that for an organization to become a learning organization, it (or the leaders) need to let go of the old systems of control and trust in the process. I could see that it doesn’t, and couldn’t really, mean that things are just let go of, but rather there would need to be conscious efforts made to facilitate learning – setting up systems, structures, values, visions, norms, etc. that encourage dialogue, creativity, innovation, even risk.

Mapping concepts

It will be interesting to explore meaning making with concept maps. I have used something called a mindmap. However, it’s slightly different than how Novak and Canas present the concept map. The main difference that I see is the use of linking words between concepts that describe the relationship between the two respective concepts. What I have used is really a graphical sort of outline with boxes/circles that can be linked hierarchically. This has helped me find some clarity and organization when starting new projects or getting some ideas out of my head. However, I can see that specifying the relationship between each item/concept could help with gaining more clarity.

It’s also interesting to consider how using concept maps may help us relate prior knowledge to new knowledge. One thing that struck me as I was reading about the concept maps was how the main focus is on words. Yes, there is the possibility to add images, videos, etc., however the basic structure of a concept map seems to be words. Novak/Canas say that the brain ‘organizes knowledge in hierarchical frameworks’ and that these are primarily concepts and propositions. He acknowledges very little is known about how memory works. However, I understand the human mind/memory primarily stores knowledge in images. Do we translate concepts/propositions into images? Or associate concepts/propositions with images?

There’s more that I found interesting in our beginning exploration of organizational learning, but there’s only so much to write in a post! One thing in the preface struck me that we didn’t talk about in our class discussion. It was that originally the term corporation ‘implied an organization to whom the government granted special status because it clearly served the public interest.’ Wow, that’s interesting! It seems like with time we have strayed far from that concept. Imagine if there was an internal commitment within all levels of a corporation that an essential value and strategic goal was to serve the public interest. And how would an organization reach such a state? It would seem to me that applying the principles of a learning organization would be essential to move in such a direction.

My reflections

I am finding this process of reflecting and blogging valuable. I felt stuck at first when starting to write this entry. There is really so much to write about that’s meaningful so far, but I didn’t know where to start and nothing really stood out. So, it helped to review the readings and recall some of the discussions we had in class. Then a few things started to pop out. I also felt this review, reflection and writing really helped me to get some clarity. I guess it’s a bit like speaking in the hallways – perhaps a blog and mirror partners are a bit like virtual hallways…

Hallways of sorts…