Friday, April 12, 2013

"A 'mistake club' can be a fabulous learning experience"

Marc Rosenberg writing this week in the Learning Solutions Magazine on Practice Makes Mastery reviews a keynote speech by Daniel Coyle at last month’s eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference. In it Coyle spoke about three habits to achieve mastery:

  1. Maximize "reachfulness"
  2. Fill the windshield
  3. Communicate like a coach

Image source: Business Know-How.
The most interesting item for me was the second habit  - Fill the windshield, which is about two things. First, Coyle recommends that people who aspire to greater performance should be encouraged to "steal the techniques of masters and make them their own". Not sure that I'm 100% in agreement with this, though I do agree that role models provide targets that others may want to aspire to reaching. I love the definition of a "Guru" (master) that I once got from a colleague in my previous job in SmartForce: "A Guru is someone that an expert will go to for advice". The second part is about focussing on mistakes, and not to "penalize, but to celebrate and learn from" them. I'm not sure from the article whether they are Rosenberg's of Coyle's words, but I loved the line A "mistake club" can be a fabulous learning experience".

They are over-used expressions at times, but we do all "learn from our mistakes", know that "to err is human", or as Einstein so succinctly put it "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new". In my Project Management classes towards the end of the module, we discuss Lessons Learned documentation as part of project closing. It is stating the obvious that we learn from our mistakes, but that we should try to avoid making them in the first place. Reaching a mastery level in anything will take a long time, and will no doubt be built on success as well as mistakes. 

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