Scanning Horizon: What Institutional and Pedagogical Forms are Needed for Lifelong Learning

I would make it mandatory for executives to keep on learning throughout their careers . . ..  Dan Ariely (2009) in Technology Review

Lifelong learning has been a nebulous concept.  There are many different institutions and pedagogical forms for traditional k-12 and university education, but what exactly are the institutions and pedagogical forms for continuous lifelong learning beyond this tradition.  By what institutional move would Professor Ariely use to make learning mandatory for executives.

I believe that career / personal professional development should mean the integration of many forms of learning into a personal network of learning environments.  College courses, professional publications (oriented to practitioners), communities of practice, social media networks, coaching, mentoring, performance support,  etc. . .. All of these forms can be potentially important!  While most of these forms of learning currently exist, we lack the institutional structures to integrate them into a coherent whole.

Another aspect that is missing from lifelong learning is learning that is strongly contextualized.  I have previously written about the contextual requirements of practice-based learning.  There is very little of this type of learning / instruction available.  What might it look like.  One possibility is to imagine learning goals that are an integrated part of strategic planning.  Another is to imagine learning objectives and resources that are integrated and integral to project planning and project milestones.

Strong robust networks of peers, mentor and every type of learning relationship are also need as a part of lifelong learning.  I have also previously written on this topic.

Scanning Horizons: Data Driven Practice

Summary: Without standards, data becomes more important in guiding practice.  Construct Measurement is also important to generate data that is relevant and of high quality relating to practice.

I proposed that management education and practice should become much more experimental and data-driven in nature — and I can tell you that it is amazing to realize how little business know and understand how to create and run experiments or even how to look at their own data!  We should teach the students, as well as executives, how to conduct experiments, how to examine data, and how to use these tools to make better decisions.  Dan Ariely (2009) in Technology Review

A second horizon exists where measurement is needed, but no standards exist.  Without standards, experimental methodology is another reasonable path.  Important tasks are to design measurement and to develop a clear logic leading from experimental results to improved practice.  Six sigma is an example of this kind of approach.  What can make it perplexing is the difficulties in developing measures when practice is rooted in social variables.  This calls for building measures based on complex educational, social or psychological constructs on which to base experiments.  Some companies that follow a balanced scorecard approach could be improved by the better measurement of relevant constructs.