Learning is an intregal part of organizational development because it allows organizations to adapt and compete. It can be used to build a culture that is efficient and competitive. It allows change. The problem is that most organizations really have no concept of both how to design courses and how to implement them as part of a strategy.
I recently had two recent events which coincided against each other. My daughter had her Bat Mitzvah at the end of May and the following week I had the great honour of delivering the morning keynote to the International Alliance of Learning conference in Akron.
What do these events have in common? My daughter’s Bat Mitzvah was exceptional. I expected to be moved because, after all, it is my daughter. However, afterwards a number of people (including the Rabbi) told me that the event deeply moved them for some reason. It was, as they said, the intangibles that happen. They are not sure, but sometimes an event is so deeply moving that it changes a person. In terms of brain activity, it is creating a new neural pathway. I have found it sometimes in workshops (not very frequently but it has happened). That got me to thinking. If the goal of learning is to create long-term sustainable change that is part of a defined organizational strategy, how do we create an environment where people work in their alpha state (which is optimal for learning) and will benefit both the individual and the organization. Here are ways that we can create a “holy” learning experience.
1. Greet People Before the Program Starts
This makes them feel welcomed and wanted. Right away, they feel special and a part of the learning experience. By asking them a few questions and getting to know them before the session, they feel a bond to you and are in your corner.
2. Walk the Talk
One comment about my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is that people knew that my wife and I are involved in the synagogue and active as teachers. That meant that people knew that this was not just a formality for us but had meaning. It is the same with learning. When people know you are involved in what you are teaching and practice it yourself, it makes a huge difference.
My daughter worked very hard and went well beyond the minimum. She did everything flawlessly and ‘wowed’ the ‘audience’. It is the same with workshops. The more prepared you are, the greater your ability to ‘wow’ them.
When both the material and the people matter to you, both you and the material will matter to the participants. That combination can go a long way in helping to create a “holy” experience in learning.