Once you become fairly familiar with, and able to ‘Challenge your Task Robots’, you become more and more interested in how you achieve this. That is you become interested in How You Learn. With the cooperation of your S-O-L Coach, you the learner have accepted the fact that what you have previously believed to be the limits of your task-skills are being expanded. So gradually you begin to realise that you are not as quite as limited as you have always believed. Even those subjects that you most disliked when you were being instructed and taught become open and even perhaps interesting. This is true whenever this happened. It is true wherever you were being instructed by your parents, primary or secondary school, at college or university, doing an apprenticeship, or in coaching at various sports or even later finally being instructed on how to do your job. You begin to see that how and what you can learn is also partly a question of learning-to-learn skills. That is, you realise that you may be able to question and investigate How You Learn. Your S-O-L Coach opens up the ‘Learning to Learn’ level of the Learning Conversation.
The S-O-L Coach
You will see that in moving from Level 1 to Level 2 the comments on the Coach diagram above have changed from TASK-FOCUSED to LEARNING-FOCUSED.
Whilst the wording of the remaining text around the periphery of the Coach ’Kite’ remains the same; the changes from Black to Red indicates that the content of these activities has moved from being about task skills to being concerned with the skills of learning in their own right.
The Learning Conversation
The task-focused PLC continues to use ‘CHALLENGING THE ROBOT’ and with its three dialogues. But in this case it is focussed on the LEARNING SKILLS themselves. Again it starts with the ‘PROCESS‘ dialogue where the user describes how they do whatever it is that they are doing, e.g. Reading, Listening, etc., etc… This challenges their existing levels of learning performance. Again, very often, this challenge initially produces in a ‘drop’ in performance which calls for a much needed ‘SUPPORT’ dialogue to enable the learner to work their way through the drop, to achieving a successful change. The nature of what this successful change really is uses the ‘QUALITY’ dialogue to achieve an improvement in the nature of the process of learning itself.
The Self-Organised Learner
As the learner becomes more interested in how they learn in general, rather than any one specific example, then we have encouraged them to increase their understanding of the MAP version of their whole process of learning.
In many of our early investigations, the learners became more and more interested in how they were actually do the learning; to the extent that people around them such as friends, family and employers, approached us to ask what we had been doing with their friend, family member or employee. This was because our learners had taken on the job of continuing to developing themselves, well after we completed our experiment. It was this that fairly rapidly encouraged us to change how we treat those, who as traditional psychologists we had called ‘the subjects of our experiments’. This rapidly led us, as perhaps more enlightened psychologists, to recognise that the people we worked with were better as understood colleagues in a joint on-going journey of discovery and invention of S-O-L.
As the coach works with the learner at Learning-to-Learn, we discovered and developed a series of techniques which very much increased our understanding of what was going on. This was George Kelly’s ‘Personal Construct Psychology’ in general, and then using and expanding his repertory grid technique into a whole series of different methods for enabling the client to investigate and then articulate their consciousness of how they attributed and then constructed the personal meaning which they used to develop their skills. Beyond this we developed that we called the Structures of Meaning technique and then found ourselves more and more interested in how we or the client used diagrams to explain their meaning to themselves and others.
As they become aware of their participation and control of the Learning Activity and ever more deeply involved in their learning; they found observational records and systematic recording of the learning activity gave them a new and more detailed insight into what they were doing. Usually they thought this was sufficient; but only as we began to help them investigate how they perceived their results and achievements did they realise how elaborately they were using their senses. Once they recognised this, they became quite involved in both expanding the range of senses that they used; and in recognising the hierarchical distribution, of the shorter and longer term observation of the results which enabled them to question and study more exactly what they were doing.