• Ian Gibbs

The Obvious and Not-so-Obvious Responsibilities of Being a Learning Club Member


When you attend a company training day, what are your responsibilities?


  • Turn up?

  • Pay attention?

  • Take notes?

  • Try to glean something useful?


What else is there?


During the first meeting of a new Learning Club, I go through a short list of ground rules for members (who are all there by choice).


One of these is about the members’ responsibilities.


Firstly, each member has a responsibility for themselves.


They are responsible for setting their own learning goals, for developing their own learning strategy and for being accountable for their own progress.


This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise - especially if you’ve experienced Self Directed Learning.


So far so good.


But secondly, (and this is where the magic of  a Learning Club lies) each member also has a responsibility for their co-members.


They are responsible for encouraging and providing support.


They are responsible for helping celebrate success and providing shoulders to cry on when needed.


They are responsible for being a sounding board and to share opinions when asked.


They are responsible for being accountability partners, for not accepting excuses and for challenging a member when they don’t keep to their own plan.


And finally, they are responsible for creating a safe environment where everyone can share their frustrations, their fears and their failures and by doing so, identify a better way to move onwards and upwards to get to where they want to be.


These combined responsibilities create a power which is sadly lacking in many more-traditional learning environments where rather than being sources of support, fellow learners are seen (at best) as neutral participants or (at worst) as competition vying for the top grade and the limited resource of the teacher’s attention.


Once you’ve experienced the support and motivation a Learning Club provides, you’ll start to wonder how on Earth you managed without one.


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