From the beginning WeLearn Learning Services has been rooted in two things. The first is our mission to build better humans through learning and the second is the desire of those of us who make up the WeLearn team (Hey WeLearners!) to get up every day and do the work with people we love working with which we are fortunate to be able to do.
But what does it mean to build better humans through learning?
Recently, a colleague shared an amazing Ted Talk by @Timleberect called “4 ways to build a human company in the age of machines”. If you have not had a chance to check out the video – you definitely should – because in it, Ted shares four principles for building a human company, which we think are also keys to building better humans through learning. Keep reading to learn more!
Do the Unnecessary
Think about the last course you developed or the last time you were selecting a partner to work with you on learning experience, how did the experience make you feel? Did it evoke joy? Did it inspire you? If not – it is likely that you just did what was required – you created a sound course or learning experience – but you did not push the boundaries – you did not do the unnecessary. At WeLearn we are visual story tellers, we know that we could do a fair job using standard icons, vector graphics, and stock images,but we know the impact that custom art ,elevated visuals and graphics can have on both how learners experience the course and how they perceive the value of the course. So do the unnecessary and break out of the stock art jail you are in – make your learning experience beautiful. Make them moving and evocative. Keep the orange balloons!
How many LinkedIn followers do you have? How many of them do you know? How many learners do you serve? How many of them do you personally know? The point is you may not know all of your LinkedIn connections – and certainly are unlikely to ever know all the learners you serve – but that does not mean you can cast intimacy aside when it comes to developing learning content. Instead lean into creating intimacy – provide opportunities for learners to share their experiences (good and bad) with each other, to explore their challenges, and even laugh a little.
For your upcoming virtual training, consider the case of Danone (from the video) who had employees wear costumes and wigs during a company offsite – why – because the wigs erased hierarchy – and created intimacy. Imagine how much more enjoyable your next zoom session would be if everyone showed up with a wig ,big sunglasses, or their favorite funny hat. Think about the richness of discussion it might create when participants’ barriers are lowered.
We realize that talking about being ugly in the same blog where we talk about creating beautiful art to tell stories may be counter intuitive, but we are not talking about visual beauty or being vulgar. Being Ugly involves leaning in, and sometimes, being ok with exposing the things in your organization that do not work.
You must use your training program to dissect an organizational failure or the loss of a deal or opportunity. Do not shy away from the ugly or uncomfortable bits. Embrace them and provide a safe place in which they can be discussed and for new ideas to emerge on how to move the organization.
We often talk about training as the “safe place,” but maybe sometimes learning needs to be able to create the “ugly room” to create the safe place for discussions to happen.
Of all of the times principles, We think our favorite is – remain incomplete – stay unfinished – remain curious – and encourage your learners to do the same. This is how you build learning agility. Be honest with your learners, tell them that the programs and courses they are taking are not going to make them experts, but rather are planting the seeds of curiosity and growth for development and advancement.
Remain incomplete and be open to what is new and novel and how it might apply to the next learning experience you create or course you build. The tools we have today were not even a glimmer in the eye ten years ago and imagine what we might have tomorrow.
Remain incomplete and be a student of your profession, of your craft, and of your industry – and infuse the work you do with that sense of curiosity and wonder for your learners to discover and enjoy.
We are on a mission to build better humans through learning – and that includes ourselves.
We are all in this together, and together we learn.