Blog Post

We don't learn by listening, we learn by talking!

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 23 March 2013



We don't learn by listening, we learn by talking!
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 153
Posted DateSaturday 23 March 2013 16:11 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.nancydixonblog.com/2009/03/we-learn-when-we-liste ... 
PeopleNancy M. Dixon 

A rather interesting blog post here by Nancy Dixon from a few years ago, entitled We Learn (When We Listen) When We Talk. If the research shows that we learn when we talk then according to Nancy
  • It implies that if I am stating an argument to convince someone else of the reasonableness of my position, I would be wise to pause periodically to give the other person an opportunity to articulate his or her thinking on what I've said. Even if the other's response is only to offer a counter argument, that person will learn something new about their own position by “the way they have organized information differently ... to present it.”

  • It implies that if I deliver a presentation or a lecture it would be helpful to make time for those listening to have a conversation with each other -- a way for them to make mental connections that otherwise might never be made.

  • It implies that if I want another team to learn from the lessons my team or project has garnered, the transfer would work better if I arrange a conversation between the two groups than as a document. The conversation would provide the opportunity for the recipient to think out loud about how the lessons relate to their own work.

  • It implies that I read an great article I will incorporate the ideas more fully into my own cognitive map, if I tell a colleague what I have just read (or write a blog about it).

  • It implies that in the debrief of that great project my team just accomplished, the team is more likely to be able to understand how they achieved that success, if I gather the group to talk to about what they learned. They will learn what they learned in the talking.

We need to encourage more conversation in our organisations. It's a simple idea but the benefits are enormous.

Knowledge Cafes and conversational talks are just two ways of doing this but there are many more.

Nancy Dixon tells the story about Xerox Copy Repair Technicians

Sharing Tacit Knowledge - Nancy Dixon tells the story about Xerox Copy Repair Technicians

Xerox thought it taught its copy repair technicians everything they needed to know. But they discovered that technicians still had a need to learn from each other through conversation.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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