Personal and Organizational Benefits of “Learning Out Loud”

Learning out loud

To some, the three words above represent a personal learning philosophy of sharing what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. To others, it’s more reflective, sharing what you’ve done and how you did it. Both interpretations have tremendous value, but, for the moment, let’s focus on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

Sharing what you do as you do it invites commentary, suggestions, and even criticism. The open-minded sharer can then evaluate that feedback and incorporate it into the work, improving the work product. Criticism can be debated, and perhaps new ideas get generated. That’s learning, hence the phrase, “Learning out loud.” It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see how the final work product can be better than if not shared, and that benefits both the worker and his or her organization in many ways.

To others, however, the title above represents a source of intense fear. Beads of sweat break out. Cold shoulders are turned. Reasons for not sharing work spew forward, often citing confidentiality or that, “It’s just not ready to share.” While there are many good reasons to not share some aspects of work, such as personnel-related tasks or proprietary content, many times the reasons given are really nothing more than excuses. For these people, sharing work as it’s performed is an invitation for criticism and commentary of an unfinished product, and they just don’t want to hear it. Then the end product is disseminated to an unprepared audience, accompanied by even greater fears of criticism.

While we could continue to discuss the advantages of sharing work in progress and the dangers of not doing so, let’s instead discuss these and other questions related to learning out loud at our next online gathering of #chat2lrn, Thursday 16 October at 16:00 BST / 11:00 EDT / 08:00 PDT. Come prepared, we look forward to seeing you!

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