Generations and Learning Style
In my last post I told a story that talked about the younger generation and asking questions. I put out there the possibility that at least some members of the younger generation might think that asking questions in a group setting was "rude" and they preferred to ask questions directly. I thought the comments to that post were an interesting mix of agreement and push back.
Some of the push back basically said, "But group questions and discussion is a valuable way to learn and these young people need to adjust." I tried to make the point that any time you tell anyone they "need to adjust" you first need to question your side of the story. Just because they have a different point of view doesn't mean it's wrong or inferior. I encourage people to approach that situation with curiosity, playing with different possibilities rather than being sure that you're answer is the right one.
But Jeff De Cagna brought up an interesting point to me in a conversation we had. While we may all have different learning styles, that doesn't mean we should ignore principles of adult learning. We all benefit from pushing the edges of our comfort zone in that regard. Sue Pelletier blogged about my post and got the following comment:
interesting. I have always felt the same way. I much prefer to ask
questions in private, over email, or in general not in front of the
group. And as you point out, it is not because I’m shy (I consider
myself to be quite outgoing and talkative), but because sometimes I
feel like I could be wasting others’ time. More than that though, I
simply prefer to learn that way. I am more likely to walk away fully
understanding something if I ask or discuss it personally
(electronically or not).
It's always a balancing act between people's preferences (where they are comfortable) and their learning edges (which are by definition uncomfortable). You need to have some time in both. I love pushing people out of their comfort zone because it's a part of growth and learning, and that should be a driver here: improving learning (rather than trying to figure out the absolute "right" way to do something).