Are we learning, or just grinding?

This article on how¬†the brain learns¬†rounds up evidence suggesting conventional ideas of study aren’t really that conducive to learning. School primed my generation with all sorts of questionable ideas about how to learn favouring the linear, the laborious and the highly structured. It reminds me of grinding from the days when I was addicted to World of Warcraft: laborious repetitive and motivated by extrinsic rewards with little in the way of discovery.

I think organisations default to running their meetings in the same way, with too much faith in fixed agendas, the delivery of information and a general desire for compliance rather than being open to surprise. Longer breaks, variety, changes of pace, going for walks… these ideas are resisted as if they are indulgent or inefficient; I suggest they are quite reasonable efforts to support genuine learning.

Some meetings may quite rightly be about co-ordination and compliance, but often what’s needed is a spirit of enquiry and discovery. For that, we need to shed our school day habits.

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