Try setting up some “learn together” sessions. Last spring, members of Insync Training’s Facebook community realized that the popularity of handheld devices was bringing in a new age of apps for conducting virtual classroom sessions via smartphone and tablet. Organizers invited group members to an online “rodeo” to test out the apps with the explicit caveat: “There will be no instruction, and we cannot troubleshoot. We’re learning, too.” Thirty people came, on their own time and of their own volition, to participate in something pretty much guaranteed to be frustrating. But learn we did. See http://realworkplacelearning.com/2011/07/16/this-is-how-we-learn-the-insync-app-rodeo/.
Help learners become more aware of learning
So much learning is informal and unconscious; often learners don’t think of it as “learning something” but as “solving a problem.” Research from Allen Tough tells us that the typical (in the research, middle-class) adult engages in five self-directed learning projects a year, investing an average of 100 hours in each. The problem is, most adults don’t think of themselves as embarking on self-directed learning projects. They think of it as figuring out how to build a deck, or how to win at World of Warcraft, or how to get the best deal on a new car. They choose their own methods, from Googling, to practicing, to asking Joe the coworker, to attending workshops at the local hardware store.