NO DOUBT YOU SPENT many years in this classroom situation. Sit up. Pay attention. Take notes. Be quiet.

And there will be a test in a few weeks.

I’m not a fan of this model for adult learners like you and me. Why? Because it ignores the fact that the best learning is active collaboration.

I’ve seen some spectacular lectures, of course. There are many wonderful TED talks which use this model and which are eye-opening and inspirational.

For myself, I’ve switched to a more democratic model where we’re all learning from each other. And not through asking brilliant questions, either, but by each person contributing their knowledge and experience.

Many years ago, I also observed that teams make the most progress when they work on solving a problem together. Sure, bring a bunch of people together and have them introduce themselves. But they start forming as a team when they are working together toward a shared objective.

It even be a silly goal. Let’s get together, have some fun, and cook dinner. Now we’re starting to relate to each other in a much deeper way, with appreciation for strengths and styles and even quirks.

When you’re leading a team towards a learning objective, look for how you can pull out everyone’s knowledge and strengths. If you’re going to send people to a class, look at how they design the experience to be collaborative.

Especially – absolutely – for learning soft skills and forming as a team.

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