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Clarification for the topic: Ideas to create an environment where people want to learn. Can't control people, they will learn or not, but the environment can influence them. 2 aspects to cover:

  • people don't believe that they can learn, and give up: "it's too hard for me", "it's not for me"
  • overconfidence problem: for example certifications can induce this idea that we've learned enough, we're certified"

Ideas on how to enhance this learning environment

Hack day on Friday

  • to give people a little bit of time for learning
  • they can try anything, and they show at the end what they did, but not mandatory
  • like FedEx day

A Week to try something else after the release

  • after the release, people get 1 week off to do what they want, to try things out
  • not putting pressure on someone presenting what they did, makes it less work
    • some people will take the opportunity and learn something, some will not. Do they need a starting point, a challenge. Could following up help?
    • showing failure can be a learning experience by itself
    • some people need a nudge, so they have a week to do something and it's mandatory to present -> if they don't even try to present something, it's bad

Book Club

  • we pick a book around lunch (after lunch)
  • 1 hour a week

Do something silly once a month

  • 2 days allocated to do something out of ordinary
  • do a moving robot, something that is not usually done in the company
  • most of people had fun and learned a lot from these 2 days
  • a lot of ideas are coming, and this is a good idea to pick something and do practical, to apply

Teaching sessions

  • do things little by little, show how to do it and never criticize; it builds trust
  • I don't try to be perfect, because everybody makes mistakes. People notice that other people make mistakes
  • "brown bag" sessions are good for the teaching session:somebody presenting something (a tools)
  • lunch learn, where the company provides the lunch and people have presentations (more about the technical solutions)


  • giving quality feedback improves the learning process
  • feedback provided in a positive manner
  • how to give good feedback:
    • the paper “The power of feedback” contains valuable information, including different levels of feedback
    • why this categorization is important: because sometimes people need to learn how to do tasks, so they need feedback at task level, other times they need to learn how to improve the process related to the tasks => they need process level feedback
    • self-level feedback is the least useful ("you're great", without mentioning what the person did to get that feedback)

Providing reading resources

  • subscription on safari books

Make the learning a game

  • learning is more efficient when the activity is presented as a hobby for some people
    • But how the people perceive an activity (hobby or work) is not in our power
    • You can't force people to learn new things. It has to be a voluntary action

Change the mindset of being afraid to fail (gain in schools)

  • if people are juniors, they are afraid to fail. It's about a mindset set in schools, where people were punished when they failed
  • Growth mindset vs Fixed mindset:
    • Carol Dweck: fixed mindset= success is based on talent, you were born with; growth mindset= success is based on hard work, whatever you were born with, can be improved
    • An example where a person gave up when failed, as he thought was not smart. His parents promoted this mindset that is he did something good, he was smart. But when he failed, he felt he was not smart
  • Changing the "failing" into "learning". Not saying to people they have failed, but highlight what they've learned

Diverse teams

  • have people with different skills and skill levels in the team
    • an example of an instrument player that learned a lot when he was in a band he was the worst singer, but stagnated when he was in a band where he was the best

Problem with recruiting

  • people hire those who can do the thing, they don't hire those that can learn (they don't hire learners)
  • look for learners when hiring

Diversity in what you know

if you are a contractor/freelancer: some customers ask the people to do a specific thing and don't pay for the training, so you're stuck

How to deal with the overconfidence problem:

Asking people to present the topic they are confident in

  • I ask to prepare a presentation on a topic if the person thinks herself/himself as being very good

Teaching a course

Teaching a course on a topic makes you reconsider what you know and what else is there to learn(Gerry Weinberg)

Be a role model for the team

  • Role model that show they have plenty to learn
  • If I hear the person that is more knowledgeable than me that he/she's still learning or that they have plenty to learn, than this will provide an example for the others
    • thinking yourself as an expert in certain areas is dangerous; other people can thing that about you, but not yourself