I am a lifelong learner, and a trainer by profession and passion. I was always fascinated at the way we take in information and at our responses to the information we take, and the core at which all this happens is what I often work towards understanding and developing. The learning arena is a field I am forever indulging my thoughts in.
I often pose a question to myself, which is, if I were to identify main factors that create an ideal learning environment, what would those factors be? I avoid anything that can be measurable as I believe quality cannot be quantified because it is an attribute on its own, and I am often found irritated when learning is tallied against figures. What I have come to believe, and regardless of the subject matter, is that a learner and facilitator are both kings when safety is the culture of the learning field. A safe arena is one where openness is its foundation. Here, I would like to explore what I refer to when I talk of openness, and this is based on my thoughts and opinions where the learner has been my judge.
Openness is first and foremost applicable to oneself and others; it refers to allowing one’s mind to wonder, freely express thoughts and pose questions, without the slightest concern. On the other hand, it is; however, not limited to, accepting the other. Acceptance (əkˈsɛptəns), noun, is defined as ‘the process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable’. Therefore, it is validating the perspectives and beliefs of the other, particularly if they were contradictory to what we hold.
Embedding openness in a learning environment permits flow of knowledge; inherent or gained, to be brought up, which in turn could fill a gap, inspire, or reassure. A learner is not just a consumer of information, but can also be a publisher, and the revolution I see in learning is moving from professional development to knowledge sharing. It is worth mentioning that this approach is what I believe should be offered not just to the adult learner, but also to the young explorer.
In this way we need not be approaching learning in an experiential nor immersive manner, because it will be part of us and not a third party we need to deal with. Of course, the facilitator plays a key role in this perspective, allowing enhancement of discussion and moving along with the participants to the next level of awareness under an umbrella of respect and discipline.
I would like to conclude the results of an open approach in a quote I always remind myself of: “It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer”, Albert Einstein.