The “Special Sauce” for Learning

Over the last few decades I have spent my career working in corporate training centres and conference/resort environments where leaders come together to engage in continued education. What I have found during this time is that the majority of educational delivery methods most organizations use haven’t changed that much. It seems like content is primarily pushed out to an audience in minimally engaging ways.

Some of the most motivating and transformative learning experiences that many meeting attendees continue to describe to me are the ones where a conversational curator posed questions to a group. They then moderated the discussion so that  peer-to-peer learning and problem solving could occur. This gave the team opportunities to learn how to value each others contributions, be appreciative of differing perspectives and gave them a chance to learn how to build community values.

If this collaborative learning approach can provide better end results relevant to leadership development and/or how we engage in change initiatives, then what would it take for more organizations and schools to integrate this way of learning into their systems?

At College Preparatory School in Oakland, California collaborative learning is one of the most important ways their students learn and grow. It is one of the top private high schools in the US that has a great model for learning worth checking out. Their practices are both replicable and affordable.  From their perspective, individual work is a great way for mastering content but what the group work does is empower and enable student’s to cultivate resilience. It allows students to see their neighbours as a resource. It teaches them ways to test their theories within a group and it shows them how to determine if they are on the right or wrong path when solving a problem. The collaborative learning method gives them valuable life skills that will help them develop habits key for being great community contributors and leaders.

Our Kingbridge Insight for this week comes in the form of a question: If we have recognized the need to educate future leaders the importance of collaborative communication and problem solving why is there such resistance to adopting collaborative methods when educating current leaders?