We Fail to Learn

One of the fastest ways to learn is to fail. Information, instruction and feedback in the context of an experience of failure is more useful than abstractly presented curriculum in no particular context other that the learning environment itself (classroom).  The proponent, theorist and practitioner from whom I learned the most about this is Roger Schank.  When I worked in Corporate Training, we brought in his Learning Sciences team and implemented a few of their immersive, self paced learning programs.  One of my favorites was called 1-800-SERVICE.  A customer service e-learning environment, the training starts with a phone ringing.  You, as the learning, have the role of service representative.  You have to answer the phone and there is a voice on the other end in need of customer service.  There aren’t long lists of the ten keys to service or training in advance of this phone call.  There is a ringing phone and person who needs assistance.  You dive in, select responses to give the caller from short libraries of options.  Expert advise, coaching and informative resources are available only after to engage in action.  If you don’t pick up that phone, nothing happens.  There is no learning without action.

We have to get to edge to learn.  That is how we expand.  In yoga, I particularly struggle with some of the balance poses, headstand, crow even tree.  I find it useful to go all the way to the edge, which in this case often means landing on my head, in order to reach the place of balance, and strength.  As an aside, I have also learned that two keys to these balance poses are Drishti (where am I focused) and Active Core (balance comes from my center not my limbs). My point is that unless I put myself on the edge of failure, I do not learn in the context of this evolving practice.

If we are standing still, we get no feedback.  We refuse to move out of a fear of failure, when in fact failure will bring the feedback we need to move in the direction of success.  Taking a wrong step is much more valuable in terms of getting to our goal because from the misstep issues guidance and from guidance issues learning.

This is the hidden message in the Yoda and W.H. Murray quotes from last week.

“Do or do not”

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it”

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Posted in personal productivity

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