The best learning may be local, fresh, and organic

Workshops and conferences do a lot to raise awareness, share information and insights, and help people try on new skills.  But the real learning only occurs when participants apply those takeaways in their actual personal and professional efforts.

So despite the value of those structured and infrequent events, we need to focus on making the most of the teachable (and learnable) moments that greet us every day.

That's why the very best learning may just be local, fresh, and organic.
  • Local: It emanates from our lives, our workplaces, and our efforts as opposed to being trucked in from miles away where circumstances may differ.
  • Fresh: It's "farm to table," picked straight from our experiences and moved immediately into reflection, discussion, learning, and application.
  • Organic: It flows naturally from paying attention to, and discovering from, what is happening right now instead of artificially constructed learning environments.
Life's a great teacher, but are we great students?  More of our attention and intention needs to be on seeing our workplaces and our lives as the most powerful learning courses in which we've enrolled and adjusting our study habits accordingly.  Doing so requires asking two questions, at minimum:
  1. What habits do I need to embrace in order to make the most of the learning that life offers me?
  2. What habits do we need to embrace to make the most of the learning that our collective efforts offer us in the workplace?
If you're looking to do so, I strong encourage you to check out the work of Harold Jarche.  He's done a great deal of thinking in this area.