Leadership and management, in their truest state, represent a compilation of knowledge gained through the entire spectrum of experiential learning. While these terms are familiar as unique and individual entities, in today’s global economy they are inexorably linked and increasingly essential. The paradigms of a Novice Leader/Manager and Leader/Manager are discussed along with the communication and acquisition of essential knowledge areas and skill sets via e-learning. Explored are three key areas: the importance of building a holistic foundation for the individual’s role as a Leader/Manager, the essential journey the student, as a Novice Leader/Manager, must take to ferret out and enhance his/her own ability to recognize and close gaps in personal Leader/Manager development, and pathways to guide and support the student’s discovery and transition from difficulties and pitfalls to operating at a point of top level skills and interaction via long distance online learning.
“We know the best way to build ownership is to give over the creation process to those who will be charged with its implementation” (Wheatley, 1992, p. 66). A holistic approach is not only about learning content, it is also about perspectives. To engage holism, instructors of leadership and management must be able to first and foremost transfer ownership of the student’s education from the classroom, be it bricks or clicks, to the student. Second, they must change their paradigms concerning how the learnings will be utilized. No longer is it safe to assume that because a student is majoring in areas such as journalism or art they will never need to show a proficiency in what has traditionally been thought of as Business Management skill sets. Finally, they must understand that historically, most individuals entering the workplace have been and still are woefully lacking in basic LM skills. “…young people today.…learn to take orders, not give them. The result is that most young people entering the work force do not have an understanding of how to lead others” (Manske, 1987, p. 13).
For most processes, systems, or plans, there is a definite starting point: 1, 2, 3, A, B, C, a place of beginning. Established educational protocols would view one of the best systems for knowledge transfer grounded in the combined learning and shared understanding of co-constructivism (Reuser, 2001). This basis, while sound can prove difficult in an e-setting. Many e-learning sessions take place when the individual is able to schedule the educational opportunity midst personal and business responsibilities as opposed to the routine of a conventional classroom. Removed from a traditional venue, replete with constant interaction and a mutual learning experience, the e-learner is by definition detached from the practice of joint learning and plunged into what could be an isolated chasm of information and processes.