Three keys to building a learning organization

Through learning we re-create ourselves, thereby extending our capacity to create. This, then, is the basic meaning of a ‘learning organisation – a body that is continually expanding its ability to create its future.

While it may seem like stating the obvious, the concept of a ‘learning organization’ is not comprehended correctly by most establishments. Learning – in contemporary usage – has come to be synonymous with ‘taking in information’. Yet, that is only distantly related to real learning.

Organizations claim to care dee­ply about learning, but their understanding is purely technical – be it scholarly learning or industrial expertise. But learning is different from knowledge. It is deeply connected to the vision one builds for oneself and before exploring the lesser-explored aspects of it, it would be wise to understand what it broadly means in this day’s context.

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How Quest Alliance is playing the role of an ecosystem builder with Q2L

“We need to ask ourselves – are we really putting our heads together as a community to work on a problem? Or are we doing it in our own spaces?”

As the city cools off amidst a string of showers, so does the fervour that characterised this year’s Quest2Learn Summit. Weeks of relentless work had culminated in a two-day conference, inadvertently setting the standard for discourse around the future of work and learning.

In a freewheeling chat at the Bangalore International Centre, Aakash Sethi – CEO of Quest Alliance – sinks into a chair, ready to organize his thoughts and reflect on the days that passed by and what it means for the ecosystem. Excerpts:

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Not just another IAS aspirant

While it may not be entirely inaccurate to say that cyberspace may be saturated with desperate accounts of IAS-aspirants hailing from smaller towns. But I’m willing to bet that 17-year-old Amisha is special. Here’s why!

“A little to the right…no, too much…slight left…slight right…perfect!”

The limits of my moderately-priced phone’s camera is tested as it tries to do justice to the innocence and charm radiating from its subject. When not smoothing out the crease on her kurta or adjusting her spectacles, this lanky 17-year-old beams into the lens, silently imploring me to release her from her misery.

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Meet Amisha Choubey.

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Bal Sansads: Rethinking education in a changing world

Skills meant to cultivate collaboration and problem-solving will become essential for businesses across all sectors in the future. This necessitates the need for schools to make 21st century skills a core component of education.

Rajeev Ranjan may be on his way to becoming an able retail manager, but the Bihar native still fondly remembers his experience as the ‘Prime Minister’ of the student parliament – or Bal Sansad – in his school. Democratically elected, he identified problems in his school and undertook change-projects to resolve them with the help of the school administrators and community.

Thus, tasked with overseeing key functions and activities around the school, Ranjay unwittingly ended up grooming his bargaining and presentation skills – crucial in his current job, which regular classroom teaching would have left him lacking. As a Bal Sansad member, he in turn cultivated the skills of leadership, networking, self-expression and most importantly, problem-solving.

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The Educator: A Designer, Innovator, and Thinker

“To facilitate effective learning spaces, educators must also think of themselves as method designers. You are in the role of a hacker or a ‘prototyper.’” David Jul, a learning designer from Kaospilot, outlines five questions that educators must ask themselves when they design learning experiences.

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The educator plays one of the most important roles in determining how young people experience learning. We at Quest have worked with children from diverse age groups and backgrounds for over 12 years, and we have observed that the educator’s role is a constant and highly important factor in young peoples’ learning. How students experience their learning environment has a significant impact on their attitude toward learning as a whole. It is the educator who cultivates this environment and determines how young learners interact with various forms of knowledge and with each other.

At Quest 2 Learn 2018, we had the opportunity to interview David Jul, who is a learning designer at Kaospilot. We discussed how Kaospilot designs learning experiences for its students and how educators use a variety to tools and methodologies to design education environments. In the conversation, David outlined five questions that an educator must ask himself or herself when designing learning experiences.

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By students, for students

How Bal Sansad, or child parliaments, enable students to find their voices

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“The PM has a budget for the nation. Why don’t we have a budget for the school?” – Bal Sansad Student, MS Dalsinghsarai, Samastipur District, Bihar

With non-cognitive skills such as critical reasoning and the ability to engage in meaningful debates becoming ever-more important in a fast changing job market, enabling young people to articulate questions such as these is crucial.

The idea of Bal Sansad (or ‘Child Parliaments’) within government elementary schools is not new. A model United Nations program has been running internationally since the mid twentieth century, while the Indian government first proposed the idea of Child Parliaments almost twenty years ago. In practice, its implementation has been sporadic and inconsistent. In Bihar, where Quest Alliance run the Anandshala program in the Samastipur district, interventions to enliven the Bal Sansad Child Parliaments date back to 2012.

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Digging Deeper: Budget Implications for India’s Youth

The 2018 budget saw the highest ever allocation of funds for skill development. What does this mean for players in the sector, and how can we help translate this investment into a real difference in outcomes for India’s youth?

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Quest Alliance’s Ashutosh Tosaria, who manages the 45-member MyQuest team helping youth across India learn employability skills for career development, shares his thoughts on the 2018 Budget with Manish Sharma, in this Q&A piece.

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