Before my holidays I had a session on the new world of learning. During my preparation I spent a lot of time surfing the web, checking out examples on new and innovative school buildings. There is a lot of great stuff out there! Great examples of complete new buildings like a college in Kopenhagen and some great classroomsetups from the US.
In The Netherlands the New World of Work has hit mainstream and a lot of companies are thinking about new ways of working that integrates IT, Buildings and the way work is organized. More and more organizations are grasping the fact that a new way of working has to facilitated in a number of ways and that a integrated approach will ensure a better result in the end. Education has also been looking for new ways of learning stimulated by new legislation. For schools and universities in the Netherlands an institute that is called ‘Kennisnet’ is making a great effort to stimulate the use of innovative technologies.
What struck me is that a great institution like ‘Kennisnet‘ could be of great help to other sectors like healthcare but also general business. But also education could be helped a great deal by a institution that is stimulating the use of innovative building and teaching facilities. There is a lot happening in The Netherlands as well on innovative new building concepts for schools. Examples are the Niekee School in Roemond and ROC Leiden. A institute specialized on innovative school buildings would be able to gather and spread important lessons learned and be a collector of knowledge on this subject!
This week I read the article “Teaching Smart People How to Learn” by Chris Argyris. It is a great piece of work discussing the idea and practical application of double loop learning. The examples in this article are very vivid and really get to the point why proffesionals or knowledge workers avoid learning.
Defensive reasoning is a big barrier for double loop learning. Teammembers search for solutions and reasons to problems outside themselves. They are affraid to acknoledge failure and thus are preventing themselves from learning. Success in their careers is the main source for them to be affraid of critisicm.
Learning and the educational systems are two subjects rather close to each other and there is a great video from TED by Sir Ken Robinson.
Ken argues that educational systems kill creativity. Kids are not affraid to be wrong and if you are not prepared to be wrong you never come up with something original. Kids lose this ability to be wrong and turn in to adults that are affraid to be wrong. Education is telling students that mistakes are the worst things to make.
In sports it is a common sense that mistakes and losing are needed to win matches and achieve goals. If a player makes a mistake during a match this is the only moment you can make them see how to perform better and to avoid the mistake. When I am coaching I always try to make teams lose bigtime during the training season. That is the time when they learn the most and create a bigger appetite for succes.
Chris and Ken are both stating that the inability to make mistakes, to be wrong and be defensive about them is a big problem. This problem leads to the inability to learn and the inability to be creative. We need to start learning again to make mistakes, be honest about them and learn from these mistakes to do a better job!