Learning missions, reflections on learning design, tango ideas, book recommendations

How a library of peer-learning missions can build your team

Photo by Nik MacMillan, Unsplash

Photo by Nik MacMillan, Unsplash

Let's say you're ready to bring the power of peer-to-peer learning to your organization or inter-organizational ecosystem. And you have a cohort that's ready to test it out.

A library of learning missions that people can self-facilitate, that help them have rewarding conversations and build deeper connections, can support a long-term p2p initiative that has transformative, ongoing benefits.

Learning missions (as I call them) provide a light and flexible format built around structured reciprocity. Many people I've worked with find that learning missions help interactions be more consistently rewarding.

The benefits of using missions for 1:1 interactions

I've learned that many people have a hard time listening fully and deeply, while also simultaneously finding ways to contribute meaningful ideas to a conversation.

Also, many people have difficulty accessing their own intuition — their subtler, more refined thoughts, that are more likely to have transformative effects — while either person is talking.

Elements like timed AB sharing solves this. Here is how it works in the context of a mission. In this particular 30-minute mission, which I call "Integration Session," the purpose is for the pair to explore the implications of new insights. One of the participants is responsible for time-keeping.

  • 10 minutes - Both read the new content (memo, slide, article) and write reflections
  • 4 minutes - Person A shares their response to the content (thoughts, feelings, ideas)
  • 2 minutes - Person B reflects back what they heard A say
  • 2 minutes - A adds clarifications, corrections, or additional ideas
  • 2 minutes - B sums up what they now understand, that they didn't before
  • 10 minutes - Repeat the 4-2-2-2 in opposite roles

Toward a more empathic culture that honors diverse communication styles

It's very likely that your organization holds huge diversity in how people engage with others — and that each person's capacities to connect are highly context-dependent.

And, it's critical to remember that past trauma can deeply constrain what kinds of thoughts, ideas, and fluencies are accessible for someone when they are in interaction with others.

As you work to create more a empathic and co-creative culture, remember that completely unstructured conversation just isn't that comfortable or productive for many people. Consider how a set of tailor-made learning missions can help your team reach its fullest potential.

I've developed and tested scores of missions through my exploration of a wide range of modalities, including authentic relating, nonviolent communication, contact improvisation, and even Argentine tango. Please contact me if you'd like to explore how this resource might help you get your mission library started!