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.


Joan Eisenstodt said...

Ah, how this made me smile, Jeffrey! Thank you. I will read more at the links and have signed up for Mr. Jarche's blog/info. It looks wonderful.

Tho' on MBTI, I am an "I"ntuitive, I also think I must have lots of "S"ensor too. I am so aware of things around me from which I learn. For example, at airports and train stations (at least the wonderful Union Station in DC)I have for years and still observe how people - employees of various businesses and travelers and those greeting or leaving travelers, those just coming through to shop, eat or take commuter transportation - interact. It gives me lots of ideas about how to create communities.

And the theatre ... oh how it provides ideas for life, conference/meeting program and set design, and so much more.

After I read Jarche, hopefull I'll have more insights into why and how those of us who do this "naturally" do it and why others don't. As noted above, it's not my MBTI!

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Joan, you're right that some folks certainly seem predisposed to do this naturally. I sometimes it is a matter of self-awareness and discipline as well: Stop. What is happening right now? What insights can you draw from it? Observing behavior is a powerful teacher.