Designing for Learning as Exploration

We operate with an understanding that human beings are constantly learning from life — either by default (auto-pilot) or by design (awareness).

What allows me to be a learner…an explorer when I’m stuck?

The following elaboration is for those who are interested in getting better results in their life and work, becoming more adaptive and resilient under stress, improving decision-making and leadership, and building relationships of trust and trustworthiness.

Our assumptions around learning:

  • I have patterns or my patterns have me
  • The way I do anything is the way I do everything
  • Learning is a life-long commitment
  • Embodied learning includes mind, body, heart and spirit
  • Reflecting on whatever happens is the content for learning

Have you ever wondered about what makes people learn or become great learners?

Or, even with that question, you might wonder: Why bother being a good learner – I’m not in ‘school’ anymore. Actually, we’ve found that most people are motivated “to learn” when things are…

  • not going well or as planned,
  • when the same old thing ‘that I don’t want’ keeps happening anyway,
  • when life throws a curve-ball “out of the blue”,
  • and especially, when something got really messed up and cost us time, money, or reputation.

What if learning occurs when things ARE working well?

If we can tease apart why things are working, would these not be called “strengths” to build upon creating a scaffolding to accelerate becoming a better person, leader, manager, team member, partner? So, with that in mind, it might be a surprise to consider that learning could be motivated from some very different drivers: the joy of exploring the unfamiliar (an adventure), of discovering new ways to think and do things – that work even better (getting results) — or because I just want to be the best “me” I can be (personal improvement). In addition, our personal “style” can contribute to our overall effectiveness as both a learner and as a communicator with others – interpersonal, group/teams. If you are curious, you might enjoy taking a simple self-assessment to reveal your general preferences.

Which motivates you more – getting ‘less’ of what you don’t want to have happen, or ‘more’ of what you do want?

We operate under the premise that, given the opportunity, the vast majority of people will choose “learning” as a preferred way towards both getting better “at something” (their work) while also becoming better “for themselves and others” – a win-win outcome. Learning is essential for continuous improvement that goes beyond short-term problem fixing and, instead, invests in long-term capacity building that strengthens both personal resiliency and relationship effectiveness – creating ‘a culture’ grounded in trust and trustworthiness. Encouraging ‘learning from whatever happens’ is an investment in “adaptive” response-abilities that bring out the best in people, process, and productivity.

Here is a case study on developing a learning culture that may be of interest to you relative to our work.

You might ask yourself:

What have “I” learned recently that is actually getting me more of what I say I want in life and work?