Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Learning at Harvard

For all the discussion on learning and interactivity in these pages, I always had a hunch that I would discover something new about learning if I were to go back to school. As it turns out, the hunch was right. I did get the opportunity to spend some time at Harvard Business School recently. And, getting back to campus life was both enriching and fun.

So, what are the 'new' things I discovered about learning? Here we go.

  1. A lot of learning is accidental. You run into someone from a different walk of life, start chatting and come away with a new idea. Happens all the time.
  2. Stories are a powerful way to immerse yourself in the subject matter. Nearly a hundred and fifty case studies that we completed were an amazing experience. It was like we were living inside those stories. In some cases, the real-life protagonists would show up in the classroom. That was cool.
  3. Lecturing is easy, listening is the hard part. The best HBS professors get it.
  4. When the learner understands that enjoyment of learning is directly proportional to the preparation beforehand, no additional motivation is needed to flip the classroom.
  5. The design of the classroom and seating arrangements should encourage interaction - it has a big impact on the learning outcomes.

In our graduation ceremony at Harvard earlier this year, my classmates and I were ecstatic. We had endured the hard part. Now, I miss the campus, and  our cohort of over a hundred owner-presidents and CEOs. The time we spent together in various interactions spread over the three years has been most memorable.

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