In our breakout session today, we discussed quite a bit about how to sustain passion in learning environments so I thought it might make for a good ongoing topic in the forum area.
One way my colleague, Cynthia d W and I accomplish this is by creating experiential learning environments where people start off thinking they are in a passive, didactic teaching situation, but by suddenly being thrown into a learning environment where they are expected to be up and out of their chairs, actively participating in their own learning, they suddenly realize that something "different" is happening and they tend to wake up and be more attentive to every little detail in the room.
We cultivate a culture of asking questions, and we model that as we try to limit "giving answers" and instead answer a question with a question of inquiry - asking questions that insist our participants think more deeply about what they might already know, whether innately or through previous learning. Once learners realize that they are in a safe space to explore asking questions, answering questions of their peers, and experimenting with taking ownership for their own learning, the passion part of the equation comes out naturally. When we see a learner having an "Aha!" moment, it's incredibly satisfying for us as the facilitators, but it's also what I believe ignites the passion for continuing on an active learning path. We have people come up to us after sessions, or during an optional evening enrichment session, and reiterate what they learned that day, but in a way where they are bouncing back to us whether they've got it right or not. When we meet those unspoken requests for confirmation with deeper inquiries, and the student suddenly realized that the answer they've been seeking already lies within them, it's a really powerful moment.
Passion doesn't ignite in everyone, and it also doesn't ignite in everyone at the same time. We have people who report weeks or months after a learning event, that they suddenly got something deep that they didn't realize they learned during the event. And that's okay. One of the aspects of passion in learning is that we have to be okay with, and open to the fact that not everybody learns at the same speed, and one session might have very different take aways for each learner in the room, depending on where that person is in their learning journey.
So how do YOU ignite passion in learning environments? Grab a coffee and let's discuss!