Monday, July 13, 2015

Forbidden to learn (socially)

verboden te leren

On the train I overheard a conversation between two youngsters. One said he was an intern at a school. The internship went quite well but he was surprised that during the break time the teachers weren't paying any attention to the trainees. In the staff room the teachers were talking and exchange busily amongst themselves without inviting the trainees into their conversations.

At a meeting I got into a conversation with someone who was involved in facilitating online exchange through a knowledge platform. I enthusiastically told that they should go and meet with another organization, engaged in a similar process. She told me that she could not talk with that company at all because it is a competitor of her company .... Forbidden!

In both cases, it is as if you prohibit people to learn. In social learning, it is important that you can look into the kitchen, you chat and learn in conversation with other professionals. If you look at these two situations from a 'social learning' angle you miss significant opportunities to learn. The school's perception is most likely that trainees learn from practice, but I think they may learn a lot more by listening in from the way other teachers talk about their classes and students. In the case where employees are not allowed to talk to the competitor, they are afraid companyideas (secret?) flowing to the competition, but in this case you can just learn together how you shape knowledge and you may both go faster.

I was very surprised these kind of situations still exists. Do you know of more situations in which it is actually forbidden to learn?