Creating a More Engaging Learning Experience
“The physical and psychological spaces of an organization work in tandem to define the effectiveness of the people within it.” Tim Brown
How can we create transformative learning experiences? Workplaces spend a lot of time and resources coordinating these events with the hopes that employees will leave more developed than before, so it is important we figure out how to create experiences that are memorable and transformative.
Interestingly, there are rogue workplaces asking similar questions and have begun redefining what it means to train and develop employees. Harvard University, for example, as created a learning space they’ve coined the “Hive”. All of the tables, chairs and white boards in the “Hive” spaces are moveable in an intentionally rounded room. The flexible spaces give both students and professors the ability to have a more collaborative and variable learning environment, which reflects how both learning and business education have adapted over time. The space Harvard created is a direct result of listening to the feedback-loop that is constantly flowing with regards to how learning and business behave.
Anecdotally, I recently watched a movie in which a self-help author conducted a seminar in a traditional conference room and, surprisingly, while walking the city. He led them to a rooftop and then down to a busy intersection to teach them about perspective. The act of holding a learning session outside felt less significant than it did logical. New surroundings invigorate our senses, and can take us far away, both physically and psychologically, from our smartphones and tablets that might otherwise be sitting beside us on desk in a conference room of a training session tethered to routine. The difference is engagement.
Continuing that thought, Jay Cone, a senior consultant for Interaction Associates, shared with me that many of the rooms they use for sessions “have been designed on the premise that one person will stand at the narrow end of a rectangular space, project images onto a screen and deliver wisdom and knowledge to an audience literally and figuratively in the dark. We’re accustomed to planning an extra hour before any session begins to rearrange the room based on a different assumption; we need to hear from each other so that we can share responsibility for the success of our time together”.
The idea is simple. Engagement is important, and if we want to create more transformative moments to learn and develop, we might ask ourselves if we are creating space for engagement.
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Joseph holds a Master’s in Organizational Development from Saybrook University, and is an education and innovation consultant in the San Francisco, Bay Area. Joseph is a guest blogger for Great Place to Work®.