Sunday, May 24, 2009

Towards Meta-learning

Wikipedia defines meta-learning as '...the process by which learners become aware of and increasingly in control of habits of perception, inquiry, learning, and growth that they have internalized. It is the state of being aware of and taking control of one’s own learning'. In their article in the Chief Learning Officer magazine, Jay Cross and Clark Quinn highlight that 'Chief Learning Officers should take a meta-learning viewpoint to increase an organization's odds of sustainability.'

I guess in simple terms meta-learning is learning about learning. Today, learners need to take increased responsibility for their learning. With social learning and informal learning taking bigger pieces of the learning pie, it is becoming even more critical for learners to know what helps them learn better.

Meta-learning has its application for both individuals and organizations. As individuals, meta-learning helps us become better learners. The more we become aware of our own attitudes, beliefs, and motivation towards learning - the better learners we become. This also means that we take increased responsibility for our own learning and participate in learning as a continuous process.

Within an organization, meta-learning helps create and support an optimal learning environment and promotes a learning culture. With meta-learning, organizations are more focused on learning interventions and encourage learners to develop new skills. Becoming aware about meta-learning also enables individual learners to share their views, insights, and learning with other learners and highlight some of the best practices from their own meta-learning process therefore helping the organization to move towards becoming a 'learning organization'.

As an instructional designer and learning consultant, I feel a need to explore meta-learning at a deeper level to identify techniques that will help my learners learn and create simulating learning environments. I also realize that somewhere, I need to help my learners develop their own learning skills and therefore learn better using the available resources.