Quick, name your recent, best learning experience!

Oh my gosh! The past two weeks have been a deep dive into training—expanding my knowledge and giving me opportunities to practice my new learning. I have revisited material from a new perspective, (Nonviolent Communication), faced the challenge of working with emotionally difficult material  (the reality of homelessness in the US), explored hope with Valerie Brown (Hope Leans Forward), and tangled with new patterns and materials from dawn to dusk (okay, a slight exaggeration, 9:30 am-6 pm) with my Certified Zentangle Teacher colleagues).

It became so clear to me, once again, that content and engaging in deep processes (time for reflection, powerful questions, discussion with others, and more) must be integrated into my learning experiences, as they are essential for me. These elements are more than preferences. I do my best learning when I have an opportunity to engage with the material in ways that are meaningful to me—and I am clear about what that looks like.

What about you? What are the components of your quintessential educational experiences?

How do you compensate for the instances in which the teacher/trainer/professor/speaker/expert doesn’t measure up? 

If I’m presented with new facts and concepts, then learning about them through working with them is more interesting and fruitful than a didactic presentation from the speaker. The opportunity to ask questions, to hear others’ queries, and to be prompted to further discovery through thought-provoking questions makes for a rich experience. 

For me, “less is more”… meaning, I’d rather have a deeper understanding of less material than an overview and little depth. The phrase, “A mile wide, and inch deep,” comes to mind. 

When the task is conceptual and psycho-motor, (visualization, drawing, tangling), I need a clear, logical, well-paced approach, and some time to reflect on my work as I am doing it. Playing with the materials is also a factor — what pens, markers, pencils, and paper am I using? How familiar am I with the inner interaction of the different variables?

Sharing what I have learned in a cohesive manner, through organizing my thoughts, writing papers, and/or teaching classes requires me to engage with my learning experience (my notes, and/or my drawings). That process brings me to a greater understanding and brings me to a higher level of knowledge and skill.

As I reflect on the different ways in which I learn and then share my learning, I envision a path or steps in a process:

  1. Listening for enjoyment and understanding
  2. Sharing my visual notes with someone (talking through what I have learned)
  3. Clearly and concisely articulating the essence of my learning in a conversation, paper, and/or visual
  4. Teaching the material to colleagues and/or students

What opportunities exist—or can you create—to broaden and deepen your knowledge and skills? 

What will you learn next? How will you integrate your learning? I hope to see you on your journey!

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