Learning FROM the job

Let me not write a lengthy introduction but get to the point straight away.

Learning in classrooms is often ineffective. Modern learning environments in the coming decade offer on-demand, bite-size chunks of insight that are available just when the learner needs it: on-line and quick. No time out of the office, cheap and customized to the specific learning needs at that moment. No magic, as this trend has been visible for the last 10 years. I first came across it when founding Sevenda7s, a concept for offering high Return-On-Learning solutions designed to maximize the learning effectiveness. The topic is still close to my heart.

I’ll start 2020 by offering just that.

The problem

I’ve given intercultural awareness training for the past 13 years and still do. Often though, the Return-On-Learning from these classroom-sessions is limited. There are a few reasons. First of all, the classroom setting with a “knowledgeable instructor” puts people in reactive mode, expecting to learn from the expert. Second, there is a mismatch: the problem we address is intercultural cooperation, the solution we offer is intercultural knowledge. I know that – more often than not – a lack of knowledge is not the underlying issue, but a lack of open communication is. Third, intercultural training inevitably deals with stereotypes that provide false generalizations (although fun and recognizable for all). I found myself often defending the objections to stereotypes, while that is not what I’m hired for by the group that is in need of better cross-cultural cooperation.

Do you recognize that:

  • what people learn in training is often relevant but not directly applicable to their specific work circumstances?
  • taking people away from the job for at least a day is a costly investment in your hectic work environment?
  • your people want to do their job better, rather than shine in an artificial classroom situation?

If this sounds familiar, then read on.

The solution

What is needed to improve the learning effectiveness when your team deals with cross-cultural – likely remote – collaboration?

  • A possibility to learn from specific work problems that people run into now, such that they can apply new insights directly to that challenge, and learn from the effect
  • Short and repeated learning intervals that minimize the time off-the-job, don’t require travel and are not a distraction from work, but a welcome tool at work

In short, I’ve seen that disrupting the concept of ‘learning on the job’ is needed. Learning on the job suggests you bring external wisdom to your job environment and try to apply it. I’m introducing ‘learning from the job’: using the insights gained in the context of your job to improve your work and your effectiveness.

Concretely, How?


A weekly 30-min virtual learning session with your team, in which one specific and relevant (cross-cultural) collaboration issue is tackled collectively. These issues are real; they are part of the team’s challenges today.

  • We combine the collective creativity of the team and my practical experiences and insights.
  • We define a concrete and practical solution that gets implemented straight away.
  • We learn from the experience and move on.


  • Quick, practical and concrete
  • No time out of office
  • Real work problems get solved, while the team learns from the experience
  • Learn to guide effective virtual meetings at the same time
  • Cost-efficient and no need to leave the job

How do we know this works?

The approach is based on Peer Group learning, a learning method that I have much experience with as this is a central element in many leadership development programs I design and facilitate. Participants often address that these virtual learning sessions are more effective than the face-to-face workshop they also participated in. Also, the method resembles the working method followed by scrum-teams, working dynamically together in a lean and agile way. In the US, this working method is used frequently, implementing the reality of “10/20/70 learning effectiveness”.


Drop me a note here or set up a call here. I’ll send you a brochure, and we assess in a short call whether this approach could help you. If so, I’ll send you a quote, you’ll send me the team members’ names and emails, and we start. Tomorrow, if needed!



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