The components of a learning ecosystem🦾
Individuals, groups and Learning Culture
The individuals who make up the organization are one of the key components of a learning ecosystem. They are the first step in bringing about change. There are different types of individuals. It is important to note that they are all learners first and foremost, but they can also wear the hat of manager, director, business expert, trainer or other, which will have an impact on their place in the ecosystem.
Beyond the sum of the individuals that make up the ecosystem, teams, communities, networking activities or other types of groups also have a role to play in the ecosystem. Formalizing these groups of individuals or learners is also a good way to enrich the ecosystem.
The company assigns us job titles and they are “formal” but our roles evolve over time and become more and more abstract. Sometimes we can bring specific skills, resources or expertise, other times we bring a challenge, project or other practical development opportunity, and other times we are coaches or mentors.
Individuals and the groups they form contribute greatly to the development of a learning culture that is essential to the proper functioning of an ecosystem. Sharing, experimenting, and the willingness to continuously develop are truly the essence that drives the ecosystem.
When considering the place of individual and group culture, it is good to remember that not everyone has to interact with the ecosystem in the same way. It is good for people to play diverse roles.
In a learning ecosystem, content comes in many different formats. It can be formal educational content, such as a series of e-learning modules or a classroom training. It can also be informal moments, such as articles read, podcasts listened to or videos seen on a daily basis, exchanges with a manager, a subject-matter expert or other employees.
Almost every component of a learning ecosystem is influenced by technology. It influences what is learned, how it is learned and the devices or platforms on which it is learned. This allows employees to access a variety of learning modalities and interact with content in the way that best suits them and their unique learning needs. The technology must also be able to capture learning beyond what is traditionally done. It must be able to create, collect, transmit, process and store information at scale.
Strategy and governance
The company has precise objectives (e.g., in terms of available skills) and makes decisions taking into account all the components of the learning ecosystem that are geared towards achieving the organization’s strategic objectives. This includes creating a supportive learning environment that is aligned with the company’s mission, vision and strategy.
In an ecosystem logic, the data architecture is shared. The data is thus structured and enriched by the different systems. This data can be used for learning analytics purposes or used by artificial intelligence algorithms to facilitate the use of the ecosystem. From these elements, organizations can build an infinite number of dynamic solutions to develop and employ individuals, and to optimize their ecosystems.