It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a SuperLearner!


Over the past decade the story of enterprise learning has increasingly been dominated by the rise of the “learning” part and a de-emphasis of the “enterprise” part.   It’s kind of an adaptation of a famous line from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address:  Ask not what training experiences your organization can give to you, but what learning and knowledge you can give to your organization.

But the move to bottom-up learning is no easy evolution.  It’s not an either/or question.  Increasingly, conversations among learning executives are dominated by the discussion of balance: when does a company need to tell and when does it need to listen?

Fortunately, there is a certain type of learner that eases these challenges, emerging spontaneously within the workforces of many companies: they’re what we call “superlearners.”  Unusually self-reliant and media savvy, superlearners are leading the way for their companies by exemplifying the attributes, learning behaviors and collaboration-based activities needed to win in this current era of never-ending change.

But superlearners present some challenges of their own companies.  They’re more apt to become frustrated and leave the organization.  They challenge accepted ways of doing things; they have no great love for authority and may flout the rules.  Yet harnessing their energy and the manner in which they multiply the availability and value of knowledge across the enterprise will increasingly become a task of learning and HR executives.

Read more: CLO Magazine Article about SuperLearners

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One response to “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a SuperLearner!

  1. What a brilliant article!
    I love how you:

    • Dispel the generational and class differences. Learning is the thing that makes us all equal, and it’s the essence of survival, and superhero energy.

    • Suggest that superlearners are self-aware. That is so insightful. Self-awareness is directly related to self-directedness. The more learning can allow us to see (and appreciate) ourselves, the more each of us can confidently self-direct.

    • Draw a distinction between quick-study and true insight. This is significant. Much of the learning I see has to do with facts rather than meanings and much less with values. What you suggest, is far more nuanced and requires master choreography in learning design and facilitation.

    • Invite companies / organizations to cultivate the superlearner in everyone. It is another energy source that can be harnessed, as you suggest.

    Thanks! –Lucia

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