What do you do in a totally unprecedented situation, when there are no answers?
One thing you can do when you don't yet have answers is focus on asking more effective questions.
Another thing to do is to reach out to others to create communities and networks that can provide resources, guidance, and support.
None of us has all the answers, but together, we can move closer to asking the right questions.
That's what our Learn and Get Smarter community has been doing for the past several weeks, and our collective efforts have been yielding powerful results.
At last Saturday's Learn and Get Smarter community meeting we put together our work from earlier meetings to set up a cognitive strategies ("learning how to learn") course.
We decided to call the course
"Novel Solutions to a Novel Crisis."
Individually and collectively, we were impressed with what we came up with as a group, because none of us alone could have created what we all created together.
I want to extend a very special thank you to everyone who has been part of this process. If you haven't been able to participate so far, come next time and contribute your ideas!
At next week's community meeting we will start to plan and develop the media needed to build the course (media such as PDFs, Word Docs, interactive elearning activities, and PowerPoints.)
I hope you can join us to add your wisdom, insights, and perspective!
We'll start planning and developing our actual course media!
To develop the course content, we'll draw on the question banks we came up with in previous weeks, relating to attitude adjustments, practical skills, and learning strategies that can help us cope with this unprecedented situation.
After exploring helpful mindset adjustments we can make, we realized that mindset change is only PART of what we need to focus on. We decided that our course will not be a mindset course, but it may have some mindset change components in it.
We realized that while the current pandemic calls for the development of new skills in every area of life, skills alone will not give us everything we need to survive and thrive. Even the skills themselves, that we came up with, were heavily oriented in the direction of learning what we need to know in order to cope. We realized that our course would not be a "how-to" course, even though learning new skills would be part of what we need to learn. Clarity was emerging that this would instead be a cognitive strategies course, focused on learning how to learn about the new situation we all find ourselves in.
Our process of ongoing reflection and questioning led us to the realization that when there are not yet any clear definitive answers, the best one can do is ask the most powerful questions. We explored questions to ask in all areas of our lives and on all levels of society, from the personal to the global and from the physical to the spiritual.
The process we are using to develop this "crowdsourced" learning experience, differs in important ways from the process you would use to create your own individual course in your own area of expertise.
The pandemic is an area in which none of us has expertise. Even the experts in global health don't yet have the full range of expertise needed to handle such an unprecedented situation effectively. We are all participants in a global learning experience in which the stakes are as high as they can possibly be, for everyone involved.
Learning is always about adapting to one's environment in ways that promote survival. But the stakes are not usually as clear and as stark as they are now.
As experts in our own fields who are interested in developing transformative online courses, the pandemic provides an opportunity to learn about learning itself (and online learning in particular) in ways we have never seen before.
In your own area of expertise, you can use the Course Design Formula® as a set of guidelines to structure your extensive prior knowledge in ways that help people benefit from what you already know.
But when, as in this situation, no one yet has the right expertise, we must instead rely on unguided discovery learning.
We are feeling our way in the dark, and finding out where the limits and edges are by running into them. Working together as a community, we can find those edges faster and bring our collective wisdom and energy to bear on a problem that impacts us all.
to continue this journey of exploration!
At last Saturday's community meeting, we discussed the questions can we ask ourselves, that will help us survive and thrive under all conditions, and especially, the conditions we are all dealing with now in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.
We decided to use the questions we came up with, to develop a sample cognitive strategies ("learning how to learn") course as a group. That's what we will work on at next week's community meeting.
With profound thanks to everyone who attended for their participation and insightful contributions, here are some of the important questions we came up with as a group:
We decided that we will now ask ourselves the following powerful question:
How does my mission continually align with my clients’ desires and what they are willing to pay for?
How do I ensure this going forward under all conditions?
Finding effective answers to such questions, especially under conditions of uncertainty such as we are facing now, is not an easy task. This is deep work, the work of learning at the most fundamental level.
(Remember that learning means adapting to conditions in ways that promote and optimize well-being and survival).
The stakes are very high: for ourselves, our families, our communities, and the planet as a whole.
Come help us develop effective learning strategies that can help us find answers to these and other important questions.
We will start to actually BUILD our group
cognitive strategy ("learning how to learn") course
In a complex and unprecedented situation where no one has all the answers (or sometimes, ANY answers), working collectively can help us find solutions we would not have been able to find on our own.
I'm creating a Google doc with the questions we came up with at last week's meeting, and will share it via email with those on the Learn and Get Smarter email list. We can keep adding questions to consider, as we think of them.
You may enjoy this enlightening article from Harvard Business Review, on how businesses can approach decision making when faced with complex, unpredictable, and unprecedented systems.
For the next few days, think about questions to ask yourself in YOUR business, that will help you adapt to a complex and unpredictable environment.
Then come join us next Saturday as we start exploring answers in the form of a cognitive strategies course we can create together!
How are you feeling right now?
What changes have you had to make to adapt to the coronavirus threat?
Do you find yourself suddenly needing to take programs, meetings, clases, processes that work well in the physical world, and put them online?
Would you like some guidance and help in figuring out how to do that, effectively and fast?
At a time when staying separate in physical spaces protects our physical health, meeting together in online spaces can protect our social, emotional, financial, and even spiritual health.
In these unprecedented times, where things are unfolding fast and in unpredictable ways, community support and helpful guidance can ease the burden we may otherwise be carrying alone.
That's why, starting this week,I’m inviting the Learn and Get Smarter community to come together, to meet face to face (on Zoom).
I’m hosting a live group meeting this Saturday, March 21st, at 9 AM Pacific/ Noon Eastern time.
If you live in a different country, you can use this international time zone converter to find the time to log on.
The purpose of this meeting is to start to get to know each other as a community focused on creating effective learning online in ways that make the best use of all our resources: time, brainpower, energy, and ideas.
What challenges are you facing now in terms of taking great offline learning experiences, and getting them online?
How can I support you in getting that done?
I'd like to start having weekly office hours/workshops where you can share your course design challenges and we can find creative solutions together.
If this sounds like something that would be helpful and interesting to you, please register for the meeting (below).
After you register, you'll receive a confirmation email with the meeting link.
If you have a course design challenge or situation you'd like to discuss, you are welcome to email it to me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com.
Here's the link to register for the meeting this Saturday.
(After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.)
We'll be meeting live on Zoom, which is a fantastic platform for online meetings and live course sessions.
You may already be an expert at using Zoom, or you may not have used it before.
(If that's the case, it's very easy to use. All you have to do is go to the link you'll receive in the email after you register, at the designated time).
Here's an article that Zoom just shared from their blog, on some really fun and creative ways to create a sense of community and connection in online meetings.
I hope you enjoy it!
Check out this wonderful post on Zoom's blog, about fun ways to create connection and community at a distance.
My goals for this first meeting are for the community to get to know each other, and for me to learn the kinds of course design challenges that you are facing right now, and how I can be of service to you at this challenging time.
If there is interest and the group finds this format helpful, we can continue the meetings weekly in order to create ongoing synergy, community, and support.
How do you feel about this? Do you like this idea? Do you have any comments, suggestions, or requests?
Email me at Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com to let me know how I can help.