Resilience Pathway #105: Facilitated Self-Directed Learning

“What I hear, I forget; what I see, I remember; but what I do I understand.” • Confucius, 451 B.C.E.

A few months ago, I was in a team meeting with a small group of adults where all but one of us sat and listened for nearly four hours with almost no opportunity to participate or interact. After the first 30 minutes of hearing the same person talk in this meeting, I noticed that my energy level for the topic plummeted. After 90 minutes of this “listening exercise,” I started to get a headache and began to watch the clock hoping the meeting time would soon come to an end. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, this is not a good way to get people to learn. To sit in a room and simply listen for an extended period of time whether in a classroom setting or in a meeting can be physically and mentally difficult and also may minimize productivity and creativity. Regardless of whether you’re in a meeting or a training room, adults learn best by doing and actively participating. People, teams, students, co-workers, etc. are more engaged and more productive when given considerable time and opportunity to participate and interact verbally and physically.

Facilitated self-directed learning moves in the opposite direction. Knowledge, skills, and behaviors that are learned through discovery in a hands-on, interactive way allow us to retain and demonstrate our learning.

This approach can be used in meetings or to teach by giving the team members or learners an instructionally created packet of information that they will interact with as a way to discover and practice concepts and skills. An effective packet may well consist of the following:

  • Directions for a group or team to appoint a team facilitator, recorder, and time keeper who will each be involved in both moving the team through the packet and participating in the process.
  • A meeting agenda or learning objectives.
  • The content to be discussed or learned.
  • Discussion questions.
  • Detailed action steps for the team members or group of learners to take together as a way to deepen learning, interact with information, make decisions, stimulate productivity, inspire ideas, etc.
  • Opportunities to share ideas and opinions. Opportunities to practice what is being learned / discussed and receive feedback in a safe environment.
  • Summarize next steps.
  • End with a Plus/Delta exercise where the team members assess what worked well in the process and what could be improved.

Coaching Inquiries: How can a facilitated self-directed learning approach serve you or your team? How often do you participate in meetings or training classes? What holds you back from contributing? How often do you invite participation from others in your meetings?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. If you are interested in learning more about how you can partner with a LifeTrek coach to enhance your resilience, please Email Christina or use the Contact Form to arrange for a complimentary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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