More than Just Work – You Must Create a Professional Learning Network

Keywords: Learning Network – Professional Learning Network – Personal Learning Network – Personal Learning Environment

Learning networks, and more specifically personal learning networks, have been getting a lot of attention in recent times.

To provide some context, a learning network describes a group that an individual connects with to learn from and develop their own skills. More specifically, the notion of learning from a network transcends to movement of ideas and reflections, as compared to simply learning per se.

Given the current learning environment, you may think that a learning network is simply a manifestation of how we learn professionally. And, you are right.

In terms of continuous, life-long learning, the idea of divided bursts of learning is diminishing. In fact, after a certain age, the way we learn gets out of the classroom and becomes a part of our day to day life more explicitly.

And, this gave me the idea: why can’t we apply the learning network notion to organisations and make it professional.

The Next Level of a Learning Organisation

In business and management, a learning organisation refers to any company that facilitates employee learning, achieving the ability to constantly transform at an organisational level.

But, organisational learning, if taken for face-value, if a limiting idea. And, we have covered this previously in a blog that discussed the need to unlearn before learning forward. You can read the said blog here.

And, we maintain the said belief. Accepting that unlearning is the first stage of learning is the step one in developing a learning organisation.

But, once a learning organisation goal has been set, the higher levels of the idea need to be touched too. And, the development of professional learning networks is one such level.

In essence, the idea of a learning organisation is incomplete without the development and learning of employees. It’s right there in the definition – facilitations of employee learning.

Here, how you facilitate that learning comes with multiple options. 

In other words, going online is not your only option. Remember, humans are social animals.

A Cooperative Environment

Providing resources to facilitate learning is just one side of the picture. In organisations, there has to be a physical, social effort too.

And, we can give our own example here.

At ArchR, we have a tradition of having lunch together with our whole team. 1230 everyday. Whether you bring your own lunch or grab it locally, you know where to come and see us.

In addition, at least 2 to 3 times a week, we go out and grab a coffee after work. And, on Fridays, we get together at a local pub. (Keeping the British pub tradition alive).

Even further, we have recently added the option of a local trip per week. An hour drive towards the countryside, some sightseeing, topped off at the end with a meal together. 

To make the occasion even more pleasant, individuals are allowed to bring their loved ones. And, if it doesn’t suit someone, there is no obligation to attend. But, most people want to attend such get togethers and experience a life together outside the office.

And, this is coming from us; a heavily tech company. For us, a contrast from regular work does wonders.

But, we are not just doing it for the sake of doing it. The conversations and the experiences get shared among the professional network. People get to know and learn from each other. New ideas come along. And, people find ways to collaborate and do things better.

We are not suggesting that you do all of this. What we are able to do with our group is a reflection of our abilities.

In reality, you should begin with small additions and build your way forward. (Actually, we want to add more options to our getting together).

Professional Learning Network

So, to round off, let’s look into what a professional learning network (PLN) is.

Put simply, a PLN is an omnidirectional, multifaceted connectivity mechanism among your workforce. 

And, you job is to create an environment that facilitates it – a professional learning environment.

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

 


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