f schools kill creativity, does corporate training kill leadership?

Most of these TED Talks aren’t new; however, as an adult learning professional you may have skipped them or not considered them too deeply. The best TED Talks on education focus on reforming education for children. It’s a curious conundrum then that a lot of what we’re finding creates the best learning experiences for children is to treat them like adults. And, in so many cases we treat adults like children. Each of these talks makes me think about a big question in adult learning and corporate training. The questions are:

  1. How can self-organized learning environments be used in adult learning and corporate training?
  2. How can we make curiosity, messiness, and reflection stronger – if not defining – components of adult learning?
  3. How could a model like Khan Academy (not-for-profit) be used within a corporate environment and potentially inter-organizationally?
  4. How can we incorporate failure and being wrong into the workplace? Can we stop delivering information and start asking learners to show us how they can use the information?
  5. If schools kill creativity, does corporate training kill leadership?

Build a School in the Cloud – Sugata Mitra

Sugata Mitra was puzzled by a question: “How come all the rich people are having extraordinarily gifted children?” Through a project called “Hole in the wall,” Mitra unveiled a significant weakness in our current system of education: it’s obsolete (not broken). His research has culminated with the concept of the self-organized learning environment (SOLE). SOLEs present a tremendous opportunity to change the way we approach learning.

3 Rules to Spark Learning – Ramsey Musallam

Musallam describes three rules he uses as a science teacher:

  • Rule #1: Curiosity comes first. “Questions can be the window to great instruction, but not the other way around.
  • Rule #2: Embrace the mess. “Learning is ugly. Trial and error can still be an informal part of what we do every day.”
  • Rule #3: Practice Reflection. “What we do is important it deserves our care, but it also deserves our revision.”

These are powerful ideas that make a lot of sense in a classroom full of children and teenagers – do they make sense in the boardroom? At a time when 88% of employees don’t have passions for their work and disengagement costs the U.S. economy $500 billion a year, it’s worth consideration.

Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education – Salman Khan

Khan Academy was founded in 2006 and is now accessed by more than one million students a month. Before it became a buzzword, Khan was using micro-learning in the form of low-production value YouTube videos created with Yahoo Doodle Images. It raises important questions about how people learn and what makes learning valuable. And, from a corporate perspective, how do we create libraries of high-quality content within organizations.

How to Learn from Mistakes? – Diana Laufenberg

Our process of creating adult learning experiences often focuses on delivering the correct answers and “how-to” instruction. The idea of letting people fail in workplace education would get a lot of HR leader in in a tizzy, but Laufenberg argues that failure is education. If we want people to learn we need to create space to experiment and fail. We need to stop simply delivering information and challenging learners to do something with that information; to tell us what they could do with the information.

Do Schools Kill Creativity? – Sir Ken Robinson

This is the most watched talk on TED – with good reason. At over 42 million views, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already seen it. Watch it again, but this time consider how we function in adult learning. Our goal in so many courses is to create uniformity. To create an army of perfectly performing, exactly acting, brand aligning employees who do exactly as we want them to do… and we wonder why we have a leadership crisis. Leadership is the exact opposite of how we train our greenest employees – if we want to create better leaders, maybe we need to start treating everyone as a leader on their first day in the workforce.

Clint Clarkson

Clint Clarkson

VP, eLearning at Xpan Interactive
Clint Clarkson is the VP of eLearning at Xpan Interactive, a digital-services firm that specializes in the delivery of custom eLearning solutions. He has 15+ years of evolution in Learning & Development as a facilitator, instructional designer, and leader. Connect with Clint on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
Clint Clarkson

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