The Learning Question

I love love love Stanier's learning question. The learning question is a great way to distill the wisdom from every interaction and leave people with real value for their time and yours.

The learning question allows us to gain insights from both successes and mistakes. It turns every conversation into a self growth moment.

The learning question is this: "What was most useful to you about this conversation?"

There is solid neuroscience embedded in the learning question. In Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning Brown, Roediger and Mc Daniel say that the most important thing about learning is to "interrupt the process of forgetting". They explain that forgetting starts happening immediately, so by asking this question at the end of a conversation, we create the first interruption it that slide towards "I've never heard that before".

Apart from helping us remember the major takeaways from an important conversation, the Learning Question does two other important things:

Firstly, it assumes that the conversation was useful. When we approach conversations and interactions with this mindset, we turn them into learning opportunities regardless of the actual outcome of what we may be working on

Secondly, it invites people to hone in on the biggest takeaway for them – which may be different from what we believe it is.

I have been using the Learning Question in other ways for a long time and have become much more intentional about it as a result of The Coaching Habit.

When I use it with groups, it gives me real insight to what was useful to the audience which in turn helps me distill what to focus on in the future. When I use it with individual clients and in coaching, it helps people focus and reflect on takeaways and helps us target on what to work on next.

The Learning Question is also very useful to use for ourselves to ask after every meeting, conversation, reading and lecture.

So, what was most useful for you about this post ;)

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