Friday 12 June 2015

If Learning is Social then Up your Sociability Now

"It takes two brains to learn," said a friend over coffee. He went on to say that people learn through their interactions with others.

I agreed and added that people learn best this way. You can learn on your own, but not as much and not as fast. We started discussing what is known as Social Learning Theory. Albert Bandura coined the term and believed that "people learn from one another via observation, imitation and modeling".

This simple but powerful concept has been used in advertising ("monkey see, monkey do") and leadership development ("walk the talk," "lead by example" and "fake it till you make it").

My professional learning curve has been shaped by social learning. Most of my growth has come from interactions, observations and practice. Learning from others has become second nature. 

My personal learning hasn't followed the same path. Development of interests have been mostly solo. When I was five years old I had a passion for chess. I played a lot, including tournaments, but didn't socialize with or learn much from my opponents.

More recently, my passion for running has also been an individual pursuit to increase my speed. I run alone and develop alone. Or at least that was my approach until three weeks ago when our son, Sam, started running. We began running together, first doing hill repeats (painful) and then long runs. 

I noticed that Sam ran at a faster pace than I did. I also noticed that his pace was consistent, something I had never been able to do. If I wanted to run with Sam, I had to change how I ran; I had to run like he did. I had to become a better runner through observation, imitation and practice.

The last 200 metres
Last Sunday, we ran our first charity run, the Bread and Honey 15K. Although challenging, we ran in Sam's style, fast and consistent.  

Our plan was to sprint once we saw the finish line as we had practiced on our long runs. It was amazing to see Sam bolt to the end and fly past the time clock. 

I crossed the finish line a minute faster than last year, five seconds per mile faster, where each second is a personal victory. I had grown as a runner.

I am now committed to changing how I learn in my personal passions. I will up my sociability, grow more, and enjoy the process.

Our next race is on Sunday called the Spring Fling 15K. We are planning to run even faster. Social learning is fun.


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