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ASK, NOT TELL

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What makes one learn better than others?

Updated: Mar 20



The above question has come to my mind in the last few weeks as I were in different ‘learning’ occasions in Seoul, Taipei, Shenzhen and Shanghai. In these occasions, I was being assessed for the CPF qualification, attending a conference, observing fellow facilitators in action or facilitating classes.


It is always the case that some learn better than the others. Some took in more content. Some comprehended the content better. This was demonstrated by things like the questions they asked, their response to others’ questions, how they applied the content in subsequent discussion, or the note they wrote down on the workbooks.


It seems to me that the critical factor is the learning desire. No matter how well you can learn, it does not matter if you do not have the desire to learn. I have seen a lot of smart people who did not learn much in class because they were not motivated to learn at all (… the ‘Prisoner’!).


Think about this extreme scenario – if one of your class participants is very hungry to learn, say, how to influence the others better, you do not have to lecture them any theory / model in class. You probably just give them good articles / books on this topic to read in the morning, and then design processes to answer their questions and for them to put things into practice. In fact, if he / she is really very hungry, you probably do not need to run a training class. You get them resources to read, opportunity to discuss with others or reflect, and guide them into an Action Learning project.


By learning desire, I mean more than just the ‘Tell them the reason why’ proposition in Adult Learning Principle. We need them to feel a ‘burning platform’ – they got to jump fast!


The key is how to make people hungry!

(…. to be continued…)

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