How Peer-to-Peer creates a Learning Culture in your Organization

Lifelong Learning

Knowledge is accumulating at an ever increasing pace in today's world. As a result, fostering lifelong learning is regarded as essential for a company's on-going success. Individuals need to continue learning throughout the course of their working lives. Companies support their employees' learning journey by offering a broad spectrum of courses and training programs as part of their management development programs.

Normally such formal courses and training programs are based on an established template which are carried out repeatedly. External experts with specific know-how are often engaged present this knowledge to the participants. This top-down approach may provide the most effective way to promote learning centered around hard facts - such as understanding the latest technical innovations. However, in this learning modus operandi the critical resource is the content expert, not the employee.

"An organization's ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage."                             

Jack Welch (Former CEO of General Electric)

This approach using experts as the agents of learning, persists in employee development programs as the primary way to teach key workplace "soft skills" such as leading teams, dealing with conflict, delegating effectively, giving powerful feedback, leading teams etc. Prestigious universities and leadership institutes offer extensive leadership and management development courses practicing this model of learning. Due to cost issues, these courses are typically limited to certain levels within the hierarchy of an organization.

How could leading edge learning opportunities be made available to a much larger group of employees in a more cost effective way?


Peer-2-Peer Learning

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Employees - an often overlooked learning resource

Existing knowledge, work and life experience of employees are often overlooked when  training opportunities are offered. In fact learning theory has shown that most learning occurs by observing and interacting with the people around us. Many leadership and "soft-skill" training programs perceive as a self-evident component of their programs. Existing employee knowledge, work and life experience is often overlooked during the development of  courses or training opportunities are developed.programs.

How could this rich resource be further leveraged to provide employees with more frequent learning experiences which are both more dynamic and cost effective at the same time?
Energetic peer to peer learning 2


Enter CoachingOurselves©

Phil Le Nir - a former electric engineer at a software firm in Montreal, Canada - was struggling with the dilemma of providing management development opportunities for his staff. He had identified the appropriate course offerings at McGill University but could not afford to offer this coursework to his employees. He approached Professor Dr. Henry Mintzberg at the university and asked whether there might be another way to provide a quality management development program for his staff. The seed for CoachingOurselves© was planted during this conversation. This idea has proven to be so successful that Phil left his job to become president and managing director of CoachingOurselves©.


Listen to Prof. Dr. Henry Mintzberg reflect upon the potential of CoachingOurselves©


Together Henry Mintzberg and Phil Le Nir (with the support of many other important collaborators along the way), created a process during which employees could learn from their peers. They developed a series of modules with state-of-the-art content on various management themes similar to McGill's MBA coursework.  These modules can be experienced either in an office setting face-to-face on-site or digitally across locations and time zones.

The modules are conceived and written by worldwide recognized business experts such as  Edgar Schein, Henry Mintzberg, David Cooperrider, Philip Kotler, Marshall Goldsmith, Charles Jennings. A growing library of over 100 modules on different management topics have been developed as the foundation of the CoachingOurselves© process. The CoachingOurselves© learning experience is characterized by the module's content and its specific process guidelines.

Recognizing the power of providing small group learning experiences at all levels of a company's organization, Ensemble Enabler became a certified Partner of Henry Mintzberg's CoachingOurselves© approach.


"When the world is predictable, you need smart people. 
 When the world is unpredictable, you need adaptable people."

Henry Mintzberg

Peer 2 Peer Gespraech

 

How does Peer-to-Peer Learning work?

A Peer-to-Peer Learning experience is characterized by the following elements:

1. Each session is limited to a timeframe of 90 minutes

  • The use of 90 minutes is designed to accomodate an optimal adult attention span, and provides a timeslot which can be reasonably scheduled into a busy work day.

2. Learning groups consist of 4 peers

  • This small group size is critical to create a quality learning environment.

3.  A "Learning Enabler" moderates the Peer-to-Peer Learning        session

  • The Learning Enabler guarantees that the content is discussed within the 90 minute period, the main messages of the module are clearly communicated and that each participant actively participates in the group discussion.

Each module consists of a mix of content input and group exercises.  Each activity is designed to be covered within a specific time frame.  As a result, the Learning Enabler knows how much time to devote to a specific activity and/or conversation during each phase of the entire module.

Most learning occurs as the participants engage with the content and relate it to the reality and challenges of their everyday work experience.


An approach to champion lifelong learning in organizations

Companies which support management development in new and different ways will gain a competitive advantage in today's market place.  Henry Mintzberg's Coaching Ourselves© is a powerful approach to foster lifelong learning in the workplace. The Coaching Ourselves© approach provides a dual benefit for companies by:

1.  Providing companies with cost effective management development tools and 

2. Fostering an organizational culture which values continuous learning.

Each Coaching Ourselves© module covers insightful management topics. These modules   can be offered to a much larger employee population than is commonly realized during  courses and training programs.  But that is not the only value-added.  When a company embarks on a Peer-to-Peer learning initiative which encourages sessions of Peer-to-Peer Learning groups at least once a month, a distinctive impact becomes apparent.  These regular Peer-to-Peer Learning experiences become part of the fabric of the way people  learn and work in the company.  As the relationships in the Peer-to-Peer Learning groups are strengthened and deepened, colleagues are recognized and accepted on new levels. 

Well established peer groups also provide the framework to enable a company to communicate key company information such as a new strategy, the latest product/service or a key change initiative.  Building on the CoachingOurselves© process, Ensemble Enabler supports companies to conceive and realize custom-tailored modules to be used by the Peer-to-Peer discussion groups for a broad spectrum of business-related challenges.

The Peer-to-Peer Learning approach is truly in alignment with Ensemble Enabler's deep conviction that the most valuable resource available to any company is its employees. This existing knowledge and experience is just waiting to be released through Peer-to-Peer Learning and used by the company to make improvements and realize innovative ideas and approaches.


Through processes such as Peer-to-Peer Learning, Community Learning, Leadership Sprints, C-Suite Mentoring, Team Coaching, Thematic Large Scale Events, Learning Journeys, Cluster Communication and Pinboards (a digital communications platform), Ensemble Enabler supports organizations to gather insights and act upon ideas along their learning journey.

To discover more about the potential of Peer-to-Peer Learning for your organization click here 

 

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