Often you can learn a lot about the mountain if you set out to climb to the top of it…

At the December meeting of the Learning Partners Advisory Council, I put forward a proposal for a working group I dubbed “Rapid Response to Barriers to Learning.” At its heart I viewed this as a sort of trouble-ticketing system for practical issues that are barriers to learning: a way of identifying and quickly responding to issues that, whether because they affect smaller numbers of people, cross traditional bureaucratic silos, or aren’t visible from inside systems, had heretofore escaped attention.

I propose to strike a working group of the Learning Partners Advisory Council, the Rapid Response to Barriers to Learning Working Group, that will be specifically tasked with identifying issues such as this – small by the numbers, profound in impact – with an eye to making specific, realistic, actionable practical and policy recommendations that will remove barriers to learning. These issues may be economic, they may involve disability, they may touch on geography, or simply on learning interests that fall outside the margins; what they will share is that they present uncommon barriers to learning that can be reasonably removed or mitigated.

While my proposal was not met with an enormous outpouring of warm enthusiasm, it did serve as a stimulant for some of the most positive and vigorous discussions that the Council has mustered in its four meetings to date, and I’m happy to have played a small role in catalyzing that. I believe that many of the threads started there are still alive inside the Council, and that we’ll return to these themes in our future meetings.

My proposal is now public thanks to the launch of the new Learning Partners Advisory Council website. Mindful that PDFs are where data goes to die, I’ve posted the working group proposal here as well, as and aid to the future and to allow for comment.