Once the learner has experienced the full three levels of the Learning Conversation, they gradually become more and more able to carry on the Learning Conversation with themselves. Quite often they find this quite worrying and need a period during which the experienced coaches continue to support them with their difficulties; without going back to being responsible for guiding the whole Learning Conversation. The skills for this are best learned in what we have called the next stage. It is here when the S-O-Lers gradually begin to accept the responsibility of becoming their own coach: and will almost unwittingly begin to act as unacknowledged S-O-L Coach to those around them. This not only helps the others but also expands their own understanding of the full implications of the inner Learning Conversation.

The Coach

As the learner uses S-O-L, both at the Task-level and at the Learning-to-Learn level, they eventually begin to explore the various degrees of freedom they discover both in terms of improving their existing skills and of discovering that they are perfectly able to do a variety of things which their previous education and experience had convinced them they could not attempt. So in effect the S-O-Ler has become their own coach. Nine times out of ten, this means that they find themselves able to help other people and are in fact both enjoying the process and being quite surprised and happy with how much they can help others. Gradually the S-O-Lers internal conversation becomes not only more effective but also inevitably they become more and more conscious of all sorts of directions which now intrigue them but which they previously had decided were well beyond them. In our experience this can mean anything from choosing to pursue various activities from small developments and improvements in a variety of current activities to a gradual recognition and need to explore directions which had not previously entered into their minds.

The Learning Conversation

The task-focused PLC uses challenging the robot and with its three dialogue’s. It starts with the PROCESS dialogue where the user describes how they do whatever they are doing. This challenges the existing level of performance and very often the challenge produces a ‘drop’ in performance which in the past needed a SUPPORT dialogue to enable the learner to work their way through the initial drop before achieving a successful change. After a few successful examples of achieving improvements the budding S-O-Ler finds that they can support themselves through any initial disruption of the earlier processes. Alongside these improvements they also become much better at recognising the nature of the change in QUALITY of what they are trying to achieve. So the Task, Learning-to-Learn and Life or Relevance conversations become second nature to anyone that is using S-O-L in a sustained and effective way of life.

The Self-Organised Learner

The key changes that take place as the learner becomes their own coach are:-

  1. The S-O-Ler carries on a learning conversation with themselves so that quite often they go through a fairly thorough revision in terms of the nature of the meanings of which they keep in their heads. For example; they are much less likely to accept rote meanings at their face values. So there is a gradual review of the levels at which meaning is understood and stored.
  2. The SOLer becomes conscious of an on-going conversation which they carry on with themselves as they review their previous, and their on-going experience and what this might mean for their future.
  3. They learn to build a more coherent and accepting view of themselves; even though they may be realising all sorts of their meanings, their activities and how they perceive their achievements, are revealing possibilities that they could be exploring.

Although many of the people who have worked with us as the ‘Learners’, ‘clients’ of our S-O-L projects have had very radical and successful experiences. As professional psychologists we do not report on individual clients.

However, each of our colleagues who have worked with us as Ph.D or MSc. post-graduate students have produced a final thesis. These are available, in full, to download. At the beginning of each thesis there is an abstract. So we have arranged for seven of these to be available by hyperlink. The examples in the figure above are hyperlinks to the abstracts of seven of our 40+ final theses.Although many of the people who have worked with us as the ‘Learners’, ‘clients’ of our S-O-L projects have had very radical and successful experiences. As professional psychologists we do not report on individual clients.

To visit Brunel University’s Research Archive (BURA), click here. You can see or download each thesis.