What is team-based self-discovery learning?

As we continue to navigate the new normal, there’s been no shortage of change initiatives from leaders who recognize a need to make massive shifts in the way their organizations do business. Some of these, such as increased digitization, are tactical projects with well-defined outcomes. Others, such as managing a remote workforce or cultivating a leadership pipeline, are more nebulous and require ongoing efforts. These initiatives have high stakes and complex requirements. The long-term fate of the organization rests on their success; everyone will have to pull together. Team-based self-discovery learning is a powerful tool for a high-stakes change initiative, particularly when the desired end state isn’t so much a destination as it is an ongoing journey.

What does team-based self-discovery learning mean?

To get started, let’s break down the phrase: team-based self-discovery learning. In team-based learning, participants typically work together to solve problems, share stories, identify best practices, and uncover common failure points. While traditionally these experiences occurred in a classroom setting, learning tech has evolved to enable effective team-based learning regardless of whether learners are co-located or remote. Even globally dispersed teams can now benefit from team-based learning initiatives, coming together with audio and video for learning events.

Self-discovery learning is a concept that has been around for a long time and essentially rests on the premise that people are more likely to learn when they figure something out for themselves, as opposed to being taught or told. While highly effective, self-discovery learning requires more nuanced instructional design. The learner must have parameters that enable free thinking and exploration, but also flow toward a desired objective or conclusion.

When you put them together, they can sound like an oxymoron: self-discovery in a team setting? However, it can be done, and leading organizations are already doing it. Team-based self-discovery learning puts a team into a situation where they must work together to discover a solution. Escape rooms are a great example—they require a group of people to collaborate; one person simply can’t solve the escape room puzzle alone. Teams must come up with their own process for solving the puzzle and getting out of the room in time.

Team-based self-discovery learning is:

  • Learner-driven. Rather than a one-way flow of content from trainer to trainee, learners explore concepts themselves. 
  • Engaging. Discovery requires learners to be fully engaged; if they aren’t, they’ll be unable to make much progress.
  • Compatible with your culture. That’s one of the key benefits of self-discovery learning—it doesn’t come with strict parameters. Think of it like a sandbox environment, into which you can bring your unique culture, baggage, and aspirations for the future.
  • An agent for change. We all know we’re more willing to make changes when we’re committed to them. How do you build that commitment? Foster an environment where learners come up with the solution (i.e., change) on their own.

Team-based self-discovery learning isn’t:

  • Read-click. Read-click. Read-click. Keep that Next button unlocked!
  • Linear. Each individual will experience the learning in a unique way, via thoughtful design that enables them to reach the desired end point.
  • Didactic. While some content may lend itself to lengthy, formal presentation, most change initiatives don’t fall into that category.
  • A solo experience. In fact, what makes it so powerful is the team element. As learners are working through key concepts, they’re also building relationships with their colleagues.

How do you create team-based self-discovery learning experiences?

There are many approaches to deploying team-based self-discovery learning; doing it well requires a thorough understanding of the requirements and desired outcomes. Our ExperienceBUILDERTM platform drives team-based self-discovery learning that’s equally effective for teams in the physical workplace as for those dispersed across the globe. Learners are quickly pulled into a scenario in which they must engage in deep discussions to move forward. The answers are unclear; as in real-life scenarios, these simulations offer multiple paths forward. A back-end scoring system with targeted feedback enables competition between teams, furthering their investment in the overall outcome.

Best of all, people are connecting with each other in real time, talking through the same types of issues they’re struggling with on the job, and finding their own path. Although all teams may be working through the same scenarios, each group will have unique discussions. Because it’s a shared experience, the team can take its solutions right back into their work.

Would you like to learn more about how team-based self-discovery learning can support your high-stakes change initiative? Contact us to schedule a consultation.