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Book details
  • SubGenre:Education & Training
  • Language:English
  • Pages:388
  • eBook ISBN:9781483515052

Self-Organised Learning

Foundations of a Conversational Science for Psychology

by Laurie F. Thomas and Sheila Harri-Augstein

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People of all ages learn by making sense of their world, thereby constructing personal meaning. Effective learners become aware of how they achieve this and can actively organise the process for themselves.. They continue to experiment as they approach each and every event as an opportunity for learning and become engaged in a reflective conversational process which the authors call Self-Organised-Learning (SOL). The book offers a compendium of repertory grid based reflective conversational techniques for promoting SOL. The authors have transformed the use of the repertory grid from a static, prescriptive, measuring instrument to a dynamic, person-centred reflective tool enabling an exploration of the quality of the personal meanings people construct as they act in their world. A suite of conversational Computer Programs, including FOCUS, SPACED GRID, TRIGRID, PEGASUS, CHANGE GRID, EXCHANGE GRID and SOCIOGRID as well as the grid conversation for achieving awareness, reflection and review were devised and developed in the course of over 30 years of action research in education, industry, and government. This method is called the Learning Conversation. By eliciting their personal meaning and explicitly mirroring this back to them by means of the Learning Conversation, individuals, pairs, teams, families, and organisations as a whole can be guided to reflect on the quality of their meaning­ constructing process. Many examples are reported. Personal meaning is the basis for all our actions and awareness of this process by means of the Learning Conversation empowers self-organised change and this is an iterative process. The ability to guide this process is essential for tutors, teachers, managers, counsellors and therapists to enable SOL. They need to understand this method and practice this for themselves to better enable their students/clients achieve self-organisation in their learning. Once achieved individuals continue to learn life-long.
Personal meaning is the basis for all our actions and awareness of this process by means of the Learning Conversation empowers self-organized change. Accepting responsibility for developing one's own learning involves initiating clear self-generated purposes and strategies and tactics for achievi ng meaningful outcomes. Only when the learning outcomes meet criteria arising out of well formulated purpose and strategy does the learning task become fully formulated and satisfactorily achieved. Recognition of the iterative nature of this process is essential. This is the method of the Learning Conversation and the ability to guide this process is essential for tutors, teachers , managers , counsellors and therapists . To enable SOL they need to understand this method and practice this for them-selves to better enable their student/clients achieve self-organisation in their learning. Once achieved individuals continue to learn life-long. The book goes beyond the conversational uses of the repertory grid to develop SOL. The practitioner is introduced to other reflective tools which contribute to a Conversational Taxonomy of Reflective Tools. The book explores the concept of 'learning' and how different perspectives on learning reflect differences in cultural values. Here, the focus is on the individual's own learning and the personal nature of SOL. This results in personally valued changes in thoughts, feelings and actions. Changes in personal meaning contribute to changes in both experience and behaviour. It is argued that all professionals involved in the management of learning need to approach their job as primarily the encouragement and enabling of SOL. Those essentially derivative activities of instruction, demonstration, teaching and testing, etc. are then seen as subordinate functions. In this context the final chapters examine various roles of the teacher, tutor, coach, manager, therapist and consultant as change agents and how enabling Self-Organised-Learning becomes the ultimate goal. The sequel to this book elaborates on the principles and practice of the Learning Conversation for achieving SOL. ('Learning Conversations; The SOL Way to Personal and Organisational Growth.') These well researched conversational techniques and methods have been shown to increase the capacity for human learning. The learner is enabled to challenge their skills and competences, always giving emphasis to developing learning so that their personal learning curves are constantly under review. Self-organised-learners continue to experiment as the Learning Conversation becomes internalized and part of their natural language. Beyond the degree and diploma they continue to learn on-the-job and in life. This is the true meaning of life-long-learning. This approach is essential in our fast changing cultures, where the skills and knowledge of today can become the chains of tomorrows’ mind. The emphasis on self­ organisation in learning gains momentum in this context. The economics of learning today inevitably means that 'distance learning', as well as the increasing use of the digital environment within the traditional teaching setting emphasizes the importance of SOL. SOL sets learners free to independently explore new environments and technologies in meaningful ways, thus enhancing their personal meanings, skills, competence and creativity. The book is of even greater value today than when originally published in 1985 and reprinted in 1993. Future Learning should centre on SOL which answers the needs of Society today. This book offers a resource for a humane approach to learning in the 21st century and beyond.
About the author
Professor Laurie Thomas was the founder Director of the Centre for the Study of Human learning (CSHL) and Head of the Post graduate Division of Human Learning at Brunel University. A graduate in Physics, Engineering and Psychology, he was awarded a PhD by the University of London. Early in his career he has worked as researcher at the Tavistock Institute developing psycho-social-technical systems for government organisations, as production manager responsible for Inspection and Quality Control at Elliott Brothers, and as lecturer, researcher and innovator in Higher Education and Industrial Psychology. He devised the original Focus, Pegasus, Socio-Grid, Repertory Grid Suite of Programs as well as the Structures of Meaning, Personal Learning Contracts, Reading to Learn and Feedback for Learning Suites of Programs. Together with Sheila he is the originator of SOL and the Learning Conversation Methodology. He is the author of several hundred academic papers and several books including The Control of Quality and SOL with the Repertory Grid: Eliciting Personal Models of the World, as well as five books co-authored with Sheila Underlying his approach to learning is a cybernetic view of man and a commitment to the development of the next generation of computer-aided Intelligent Learning Systems. He is a chartered psychologist, Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Carl Rogers Memorial Professor, co-director of CSHL now at Oxford and non-exec.director of the International College of SOL. Contact Address: /laurie.thomas@cshl.ac.uk/