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Posted in: General

What was your best learning experience?

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  • Goose

    Hi All

    Was asked the question earlier, massive question!! 

    Thought I would share and it would be interesting to find out and learn from other experiences.

    I will keep this brief, I could ramble on. Here was my reply.

    Wow that is a question! I would relate them to my hardest falls!  In my young foolish days. Being told my lesson was average in my first ever obs from a county advisor, my ego took a battering, when I thought it was the dogs swingers! He gave me feedback he umd and ahhed, gave me the usual stuff about structure questioning,yada yada, which I took begrudgingly on the chin.Then he said "it just did not have the wow factor" I said "wow factor, you have seen some lessons, what would you say is wow factor?" He could not really answer, so I thought "Right I am going to show you!"
    But alas I did not, I have spent the last 19 odd years looking for it and am loving every minute! If you have to nail it down, you cannot really because wow factor is unique to every single person! It keeps changing, I have sometimes stumbled across it.Slowly learning and discovering that the wow factor happens when you have worked hard to align the Stars, the kids and you are in the moment of learning, 100% engaged and focused on solving the problem as to how to turn the stadium lights on; then without warning after much trial and error, fumbling around searching for the right solution staying positive, demonstrating the perseverance and resilience to succeed; you are blinded by the excitement of them all going on at once! 
    Does not happen often but when it does.

    Interesting subject Nathan because every experience is a learning experience (or can be with good self reflection)  When I ask 'What is learning?'  Most answers are around, 'taking on new information' 'learning a new skill' 'understanding information' etc. but if you ask someone to write down or tell you their 'best learning experience and their worst learning experience' they usually come up with the worst experience first and this is what you have put across in your post.  I define learning as 'a change of behaviour brought about by an experience' (Chambers English dictionary) there are several others.  It therefore can be a bad or good experience. As a coach we have a huge responsibility to ensure (especially with young people) that the experience is as good as we can make it, BUT that if it is an uncomfortable/difficult or challenging experience the 'learner' gains knowledge from it and can manage the experience more competently next time.  We must NOT protect our learners from experiences and we must enable them to learn from mistakes.  Preventing the 'bad' experience through our knowledge that it will not be easy, actually inhibits learning.  So what is MY best learning experience?  Without a doubt it is the ongoing ability to see improvement in those I coach.  In an ever developing world of knowledge and expertise in delivery of technical competence in all sport, that satisfaction I achieve daily from aiming to be better today as a coach than I was yesterday is what 'gets me up in the morning'. 


  • kbrown

    Completely agree with what has been said so far! I attended a CIPD learning conference recently in London and one of the recurrent concepts that kept coming out was 'Simulating failure' for learners. Now... when i heard this for the first time as a L&D professional i was slightly taken aback by the term used... however as the term was unravelled and the concept behind it being that we have learnt some of our most valuable lessons from getting it wrong and understanding how, why and where on that learning journey. For me personally the best learning experiences is when i have observed and received feedback on how learners have applied learning and ideas of which i shared, and it has made a difference to them as individuals and in their professional roles. Not only does this enable me to identify what learning has 'stuck' but also what learning potentially needs reviewing in its effectiveness. The WOW factor on the journey is when a seed has empowered the learner not only to grow as a individual, but also to share their knowledge and experience to empower others i.e their colleagues, participants etc, and sometimes acting as a informal mentor ... Great question!

  • incog

    If I had to say what has been my most enjoyable learning experience it would be from working with a pupil towards a major competition and getting it right from the planning to the delivering, the timing, the enjoyment for all concerned and reflecting on how to repeat it next time.

    If I had to say what learning experience has taught me the most it would be from the failures, the self-reflection on sessions that have gone wrong. Reflecting on what I would do differently next time.

    The best learning experience for me would be a mixture of the two. Realising it is going wrong and thinking on my feet to turn it around and make it a success, that is the best feeling.

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