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Fortnightly Links No.31

We believe that to always keep learning is the best strategy a person, group or organization can adopt and live to remain effective, active, relevant and, well, happy. Every two weeks we send the most relevant articles in becoming better learners. We look at how people learn from and with each other.

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Feynman • Organizations don’t learn • Smart Teams • Chatbots

A hectic couple of weeks this has been so you might have noticed we haven’t sent out our little poll yet, it’s coming. In the mean time of course always feel free (encouraged even) to hit reply and give us some feedback (especially in terms of selection) or hit forward to send to friends who might enjoy our links.

The Feynman Technique

Farnam Street • 3 min read

Shane Parrish with a quick recap of the Feynman technique. How to simplify / explain a topic, teach it, identify gaps and review.

Not only is this a wonderful recipe for learning but it’s also a window into a different way of thinking that allows you to tear ideas apart and reconstruct them from the ground up.

++ Also have a look at The Power of Writing About the Things You Read.

Productivity revolutions

Esko Kilpi • 5 min read

I’ve previously linked to Kilpi on the relationship between work and learning, here he starts with revisiting Taylor’s ideas. How knowledge changed profoundly the life of manual workers and how today technology can augment knowledge workers and their learning.

Work starts from problems and learning starts from questions. Work is creating value and learning is creating knowledge. Both work and learning require the same things: interaction, engagement and intelligent tools.

Why Organizations Don’t Learn

Harvard Business Review • 22 min read

A quite thorough article on why companies might say that they focus on learning but actually fail at doing so. The researchers identified a number of biases, reflected in 10 conditions impeding organizations, then detail and offer some paths to countering said biases.

But here’s the catch: Doing so limits what we bring to the organization. As Steve Jobs famously said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” In fact, being unafraid to stand out can actually garner respect, despite beliefs to the contrary.

Reimagining College as a Lifelong Learning Experience

The Chronicle of Higher Education • 5 min read

Lots of interesting ideas in this article. It starts around university degrees but the more open and fluid access and the careers it would enable is quite timely and appropriate to our times.

“To prosper, colleges need to become more like cathedrals,” he wrote. “They need to build beautiful places, real and virtual, that learners return to throughout their lives. They need to create authentic human communities and form relationships with people based on the never-ending project of learning.”

Learning at the speed of business

McKinsey • 10 min read

An article from McKinsey, based on their report. Includes lots of stats but also comes out with some of the same conclusions we’ve seen covered elsewhere; that L&D departments have to become facilitators, aggregators and enablers for the self-directed learning employees are already doing. They do also advocate for the value of keeping some brick and mortar activity for in person classes, away from the daily grind.

Achieving the next level of change—akin to the revolution that Amazon brought to retailing—will require a nimble balance between digital and physical platforms, cultural messaging and technical content, and real-time and actively shared learning.

5 Ways Smart Teams Build Collective Intelligence

Anders Pink • 4 min read

They are; diversity, social perception and sensitivity, sharing and connective intelligence, joint attention and hiring positive, collaborative team members.

Thus whilst you want to recruit good people, when hiring you should also look for positive people, with high social sensitivity and people that openly collaborate and share.

Ways chatbots can be used in learning

Donald Clark • 7 min read

Seven ways in which bots can be used for learning. Mostly through some forms of automation (of course) or teacher support but also as agents for self-directed learners.

Chunking, search, concept identification, recommendations, relevant feedback, spaced-practice – there are many principles in teaching and learning that can be ‘captured’ in software and replicated by technology.

Nautilus’s Learning Issue

I’m a fan of Nautilus, they always take a very broad view of each theme. You should have a look at the Learning issue with topics like crows, fish, hallucinogens, addiction, myths, metaphysics and … how to tell if you’re a jerk!


Header image by Yuko Shimizu for The Harvard Business Review.

Patrick Tanguay

Editor-in-Chief for E-180 Publications. Obsessively curious transdisciplinary thinker and learner. I help connect people and ideas.