The recent series of blog posts about the campus / learning workplace are the result of my growing awareness of the importance of the workplace for knowledge creation through the work I have been doing in recent years with Dr Marie Puybaraud and the Johnson Controls Global Mobility Network.
I have another string to my bow. I headed up a team, over a decade ago, responsible for establishing and growing a UK university’s work-based learning Master’s degrees across all faculties.
What this means is that rather than feeding students into pre-designed course, our starting point was a strategic thing the student’s business needed to do. We helped them scope a strategic objective and create a high-level learning / action plan. Content (theory, previous research, tools, frameworks etc) were drawn down in a just-in-time way and applied / experimented with at the point where they were needed.
The time has come
We then took this approach to Moscow and worked with very senior executives. Innovating in a university is hard work. Despite our successes in Russia and the UK, many academics resisted the work-based approach.
There has very recently though been a resurgence of strong interest in the business school, where I am a Visiting Fellow. I think work-based learning is set to come out of the shadows.
Learning at, from and through work
What I am trying to do with the Smart Work Company is to develop the work-based learning approach I helped to develop, and in which I so much believe.
In particular, I want to see if I can take it online and make the approach available to people who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to go to business school.
I have spent a long time – perhaps too long - on the content for phase two. I needed to get the story straight in my own head. Insights on workplace trends have been emerging through my work with the Global Mobility Network.
The ‘organisational dynamics’ content is shorthand for all the research, insight, frameworks, tools etc that I know of around high-performance work systems, lean, agile etc.
The content I am suggesting is for starting conversations. The whole point is for people to find their own content, be able to reflect on it, critique it, adapt it and experiment with it. The value in work-based learning is the skills and capabilities that develop through “chaotic action”.
p.s. I said I would talk about the role of social technologies in this post but have run out of time. I will leave that for the next one.