Learning Lab: discussion, experiences

A method is only a means to a goal. The principles of the method of the Learning History produce strengths and weaknesses, partly depending on context and situation. In this learning lab you can find some reflections. The lab started in Vienna, during the Sol Global Forum 2005, under the title "Improvisations on learning histories". About 15 people participated in this lab in a lively discussion.

The method was introduced in a Gallery Walk (ca. 30 minutes), followed by discussion in small groups (ca. 30 minutes). We reflected on the method with some questions as guidelines:

The last 30 minutes of the learning lab we evaluated the method with the whole group. Evaluations:

  • Strengths: involves other people than experts; make said the unsaid; connects past end future in the present actions
  • Phil Mirvis attended us to the learning history he made together with Karen Ayas and George Roth, about the transformation of a Dutch Unilever Company; see literature
  • It seems a time consuming method, it must be worth the investment; on the other hand: not doing it might cost more in the long term
  • There must be a desire to look in the past
  • Clarification of the process is essential: why do it, this lot of work
  • Is the name "learning history" a good one? Because it is not about the learning but about becoming more effective in the organization. Reactions: what's in a name? Learning is becoming more effective.
  • Start with the question "how did we get here"
  • Rename the distillation stage in "distillery", make it attractive to participate. Drinks?
  • Place the method in the category of "perspective theories" for online learning; this can prevent the feeling of directors and managers "it is not my history, so why look back"

A suggestion for the website and learning lab is to articulate the three aspects of the learning history:

  1. mythic (the narratives)
  2. research (mapping)
  3. pragmatic ( work)

Thank you for your visit and contribution to the learning lab. Special thanks to Mikael Hirvi of the Team Academy Finland, who assisted in the realisation of the lab.

Impressions of the learning lab
"Improvisations on Learning Histories":

click on photo to enlarge

Gallery walk


in large group

Conversations in small groups

Photos made by Mikael Hirvi