Sharing and learning. How our differences are what can draw us together.

I’ve had the great privilege in this trip to the US to meet with a number of different teams that work in the same area as me: learning and development. We are divided by differences in language and terminology, but often unified by an underlying method, approach and set of shared values.

Today i spent time with the design team at one of the other e-learning companies in our group. Speaking to graphic designers about how hard it can be to get signoff, there was lots of nodding. Sure, we use different processes, our solutions look different, but we do similar jobs. Some of the things that they do, i look at and wish that we could do. Other times, i think of things that we’ve done and want to share them.

If we play it right, at the end of it we will all be doing things slightly differently: building learning out of our differences.

Learning is not a process of unifying opinions and creating homogeneity: it’s a process of exploring difference and celebrating diversity. Different opinions and viewpoints make for interesting debate, and interesting debate is what leads to learning. Indeed, creating the spaces for this debate to take place is often the challenge, and one to which social media spaces can contribute significantly.

The joy of working with new teams is that your perspective is different. You don’t sit within the structures that they do, you don’t share the same challenges and shared historical successes and failures. You experience them in the moment, as they are now. Every future encounter is related back to this time.

This different perspective can be invaluable: perspective is a tricky thing, hard to find and hard to maintain. When we are under pressure, our perspective narrows. One of the things i often try to explore is where we give people time to reflect within a learning experience. We know when we are telling them things, when we are exploring things, when we are assessing things, but it’s not often that we build in enough time for reflection.

This wider perspective that i get from parachuting into a new team for a few days allows me to reflect on my own activities and ways of working. I’m increasingly alert to exploring different methods of working and sharing new ideas. It’s the great pleasure of being part of a larger creative community.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Ideas, Introspection, Learning, Sharing, Social Learning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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