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  • Writer's pictureIan Gibbs

7 Benefits of Learning Clubs

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

You know there are things you could do better. But there never seems to be the opportunity, the motivation or the pressure to do something about it.

Of all the in-company training initiatives I’ve come across, the one closest to my heart is the Learning Club.

A what?

A Learning Club is an unceremonious event held regularly for the sole purpose of helping its members develop and improve anything they want. It’s usually self-run by its members as formally or informally as is preferred and can range from a group of three colleagues meeting in the canteen at lunchtime to a team of twenty senior management in a conference hall for a full morning.

But whatever the place, time or number of attendees, all Learning Clubs offer the same benefits:

1: Focus

In a busy world where there are so many things demanding your attention, a Learning Club provides the opportunity to focus on how members are progressing. Without this, it’s possible for the best intentions to get buried under a pile of urgent distractions.

Focus is necessary for learning.

2: Accountability

You are much more likely to follow through if someone holds you accountable, even if it’s done in a friendly way. If you know you’ll have to face your colleagues in a weeks time and admit you failed, you’re more likely to make the effort.

Accountability motivates learning.

3: Getting Others’ Opinions

It’s easy to get trapped by the mental walls you built around yourself. Taking the time to talk about the challenges you’re facing and what you’re doing to overcome them provides an excellent opportunity to hear the ideas of others and learn from them.

We learn from others’ points of view.

4: Conversations You Wouldn’t Normally Have

During a normal day, everyone has their own things to worry about. You might coincide with someone during a coffee break, but chitchat rarely goes in the direction needed to support your personal learning plan. A Learning Club provides a unique environment for discussing objectives, methods, successes and failures without appearing strange.

Discussing new ideas helps us learn them.

5: Safe Place to fail

Part of a Learning Club is to provide the opportunity to practise in whatever way is beneficial. From role play to real simulation, from presentations to experimentations, if there’s something the group can do to allow a member to try out a new technique (and possibly fail), then that’s what you should do.

Failing is part of the learning process.

6: Feedback

Anyone who knows anything about learning will tell you about the value of immediate and specific feedback. If you don’t have any particular skill you think you could improve, then learning the art of giving good inspirational feedback would be a great place to start.

Feedback is the breakfast of learners.

7: Useful

If the previous six reasons weren’t enough, then how about this? Which would provide the greatest benefit? To spend an hour listening to your colleagues having the same conversations as usual (=moaning and idle gossip), or to spend an hour helping a group of friends get better at what’s important to them while you learn something useful yourself?

In some places they’re called Learning Clubs, in others they’re call ‘Lunch and Learn’, ‘Masterclass Groups’ or ‘Learning Circles’. But whatever the name, it’s a sociable, effective and enjoyable way to get round to getting better at what you want. So share this with a few colleagues and try setting up a Learning Club in your company.

And if you’d like a little helpful guidance, feel free to contact me.

It’s what I’m here for!

See also

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