Social Learning Opportunities May Be Risky

Most Knowledge Is Non-Conscious

Letting Learning happen by Social Means would be okay if it was Structured Social Learning, but if it is approached as Unstructured Social Learning it may not be okay. It may be risky. Too risky to leave it to chance.

Since the early 1980s I’ve been referring to this “Social means to Learning” approach as either Structured OJT and Un-Structured OJT – as I conducted Curriculum Architecture Design efforts.

Gap Instructional Content not funded – was always left to Structured OJT means of learning. Its Value (based on the Risks and/or Rewards) was minimal … and therefore was not worthy of being Formalized/Invested in. After all, all learning starts as Informal.

The next step up from leaving it Informal was to put some funding to it to make it Structured OJT – to be delivered by Any Coach, or a Designated Coach, or a Certified Coach – at greater and greater Total Investment costs.

Structured OJT is Formal Learning and/or Formal Social Learning.

Un-Structured OJT is Informal Learning and/or Informal Social Learning.

You may need some form of CTA – Cognitive Task Analysis – to help you uncover what an Expert might miss when involved in doing Social Learning – which creates the Risk – and adding some Structure and Guidance so that key aspects of what is to be learned isn’t inadvertently missed.

You actually need that when creating any kind of Instruction – unless the steps are simple and rote, for Self-Paced, Coached, or Group-Paced … or any blend of the 3. And then, why are you investing in that?

And … you cannot and should not ever “rely on the perspective of a single SME” – which unfortunately is too often the case.

From the Research

The importance of CTA is based on compelling evidence that experts are not fully aware of about 70% of their own decisions and mental analysis of tasks (Clark and Elen, 2006; Feldon and Clark, 2006) and so are unable to explain them fully even when they intend to support the design of training, assessment, job aids, or work.

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