Lessons on Learning LO9953

jack hirschfeld (jack@his.com)
Sat, 14 Sep 1996 00:15:28 -0400

Replying to LO9935 --

Margaret McIntyte, Replying to LO9892 -- was Intro -- Gayatri Krishnamurthy -

>Thanks for the heartwarming story of your learning to swim and the
>breakthrough you had. It reminded me of an experiment in a client company
>of mine with approximately 100 people. The company was challenged to
>learn to juggle within three months. The standards were to juggle in the
>cascade form at least thirty seconds with three balls without dropping any
>of them.
>The reaction from the group was fascinating. Some were higly offended,
>some were challenged and enthusiastic, some already knew how so they were
>asked to create a new learning challenge for themselves relative to their
>competency, some were afraid, others confused. Over time, the reactions
>got stronger. Some people considered quitting their job! Others got
>together after work and practiced together. As part of the experiment, we
>raised the awareness of the collective learning process.

<snipped a bunch>

>The lessons go on and on....but in the end, approximately 90% of the
>people learned to juggle, many had big breakthroughs about learning to
>I'd love to hear other stories/lessons from the group on learning.

We conducted a five-day workshop on Presentation Skills for a group of
people who had been selected as the training cadre for a large-scale TQM
effort. On day one, everyone got 3 small sewn sacks of sand and was
challenged to demonstrate juggling by day 5. There were daily practice
sessions, some coaching from the facilitators and from the two people who
already knew how to juggle, and by day 5 80% could juggle three sacks for
1 minute plus and all but one could do 15 seconds. Learning to learn was
the objective, and just as in your case, many lessons were learned.

The key to the challenge went something like this: "You will have your
groups for one or two sessions of three days each. You will expect them
to learn the fundamentals of a complete discipline. Do you believe they


Jack Hirschfeld Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore? jack@his.com

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>