When I think about learning opportunities, I often think of the learning that happens in formal settings first. The workshop. The course. The virtual training session.

But what about the learning opportunities that occur as we go about our day? What about the broader ways that we learn – every day and in every way?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea that no matter who we are, we can all play a role in creating simple everyday opportunities to learn. And if we get a bit creative, we can even think of ourselves as taking on all kinds of roles that help create these learning opportunities.

Do you see yourself in any of these examples?

  • The Discoverer finds new resources to support the group’s work
  • The Experimenter encourages risk-taking and trying new things
  • The Connector brings people together and encourages the building of community
  • The Observer watches for patterns and gaps, alerting people to challenges and successes in the environment
  • The Weaver combines and shares ideas across different projects/teams/departments, spreading innovation
  • The Storyteller tells stories to foster understanding and help the group see things from other perspectives
  • The Summarizer distills concepts or conversations into clear, useable pieces
  • The Celebrator recognizes and celebrates people’s diverse lived experiences, as well as individual and group achievements

When I look at these roles, I can see that they relate to facilitation skills that can be learned and practiced. Yet these skills can also be practiced anytime by anyone – not just the person who is responsible for a training program, or who calls themselves an instructor or facilitator.

Let’s think of a few examples.

We can ask a colleague a good open-ended question. We can introduce two people working on related projects who don’t know each other yet. We can alert a group that someone’s viewpoint isn’t being included. And sometimes, we might even be able to explain a tricky concept by sharing a metaphor, inspire colleagues to try something new, or share a helpful resource.

Put simply, the opportunity to teach and learn is all around us. And no matter what we call ourselves, we can all take steps to facilitate learning experiences in the simplest of ways.

Tell us – What role did you play today in creating an opportunity to learn?

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