Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Working Smarter Fieldbook: A Glimpse and Some Thoughts

"Collaboration is a process through which people who see different aspects of a problem can constructively explore their differences and search for the solution that go beyond their own limited vision of what is possible." ~ Anecdote 

And informal learning is hinged on collaboration.

I am reading The Working Smarter Fieldbook (June 2010edition) by the ITA group, namely, Jay Cross, Jane Hart, Jon Husband, Charles Jennings, Harold Jarche and Clark Quinn.
My current understanding of informal learning and collaboration, their place in the workplace, their efficacy in improving performance--both individual and organizational, their importance in individual happiness, and their relevance in becoming a true professional and building communities of practice, all stem from the blogs of these thought leaders.

The book is a synthesis of years of collective experience, know-how,  knowledge and deep passion for improving and enabling human performance. As an L&D professional, for me the book is a practical guide to the implementation of a more efficacious "workscape" and even tells me what my elevator pitch should be. However, as I read it, I realized it is also much more. It speaks to me at a personal level showing me how I can push myself to become a more effective professional, find my Element by investing in collaborating, learning, and sharing, by building a network and being part of a network of professionals.

While I follow the individual blogs of the writers mentioned above and I am familiar with some of the articles, the book brings all together in a cohesive structure enabling us to see the linkages, patterns, co-relations, and inter-connections. The seek-sense-share cycle in active sense-making advocated by Harold Jarche has been done for us, and I could see the pattern emerge. Undoubtedly, it has placed a lot of scattered information in perspective for me.

This post is by no means a comprehensive review/synthesis of the book but a snippet to give readers a hint of its flavor. The book is divided into the following key sections:
  1. Working Smarter
  2. Informal Learning
  3. Social Learning
  4. The Business Case
  5. Develop your Elevator Pitch
  6. Cheat Sheets
  7. Instructional Design 2.0
  8. Collaboration
  9. Content
  10. Rethinking Learning in Organizations
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