Description of TLO's 21st Century learning methodology

It's clear that life occasionally deals each of us tough breaks, impossible choices, and frustrating predicaments. Today, even though it's barely a decade and a half old, this new century of ours is already pushing into our lives new discoveries and disruptions that are promising startling, amazing, and often incomprehensible challenges. Technologies, innovations, and global events that, if only because of their complexities, will bring us disruptions that will be difficult to deal with. Challenges that we're not prepared for, and all too often, not capable of dealing with effectively.

TLO's answer to this turmoil is our Inform, Educate, and Transform (IET) Program. IET is our new three-phase learning program that's designed to help you resolve the long-standing frustrations and disagreements that are a constant worry for you at work or in life. And, when appropriate, it's also designed to help you define the ways in which the 21st Century's most disruptive technologies, radical innovations, and paradigm-busting discoveries are confronting you with impossibly complex questions. In either case, TLO's 21st Century Approach to Learning, which we're calling our "Inform, Educate, and Transform (IET) Program," helps you discover how to extend the power and reach of your own personal learning abilities into the new challenges that the 21st Century is bringing to your door.

There are three steps in TLO's IET program: Introductory Conversations, Educational Workshops, and Self-Directed Learning Experiments. 

step 1: introductory conversations

INFORM is the IET program's first step.

We begin every IET learning program by inviting you, as a prospective Thought Partner, into at least one free Introductory Conversation. These conversations are designed to introduce us to one another, and to assess whether together we might become trustworthy companions for the journey ahead. Specifically, they test our ability to trust one another by asking us to share stories from our personal histories, including something about the hopes and the worries that are active in our lives today. We talk about our intentions and desired outcomes. Once we've said hello in these ways, we move into talking about the tailor-made aspects of your learning journey, especially what we need to do to be responsive to the obstacles and opportunities you're likely to encounter during your particular journey.

These Introductory Conversations are crucial. They offer us a clear opportunity to explore the relevance of your earliest learning to your current circumstances. In particular, these INFORM conversations give you a chance to examine the impacts, both good and bad, that your earliest educational efforts have had, and are having, on your professional and personal life. Most importantly, these conversations are a time and place where you can begin to examine the personal developmental tasks you have to confront because of what you did and did not learn during your early learning experiences. At their deepest level, these first conversations are about understanding what it is that's bringing us together in this new learning venture, and what it is we think we should do together. 

Whether you proceed from here to Step 2 is a specific choice we ask you to make.

step 2: Educational Workshops

EDUCATE is the IET program's second step.

This second step is the actual launch pad for every IET program. Each new IET is always a unique, jointly designed workshop, one that's organized specifically for each of its Thought Partners. The foundation for each new EDUCATE workshop is the information and insights that we develop together through TLO's Life's Challenges Interview. In practice, this interview is an extended dialogue about the triumphs and tragedies in your life, the typical ways you talk about your life, and the signals, triggers, and tripwires that cause you to step into your habitual ways of making sense of your life.

In a Life Challenges Interview, we ask three types of questions: 

  • What are the stories you typically tell yourself about what is or isn't possible for you?

  • How do you make sense of these stories, especially the emotional experiences they bring up for you?

  • What are the stories you're telling yourself, your family, and friends about what's going on in your life right now?

Once the Life Challenges Interview is completed, we use your answers to encourage you to think deeply about the precepts, assumptions, and beliefs that have formed and shaped your life. The point of the Life's Challenges Interview is to help identify key issues, like the family-of-origin assumptions you're still holding onto that may no longer apply, your habitual modes of thinking that are currently in charge of how you define your most pressing problems, and whether you believe any of this century's most disruptive innovations, trends, and conflicts might be asking you to learn something new about how to consciously remake your mind's neurobiological architecture.

Altogether two key "products" come out of this interview. First, we develop an outline of your life's triumphs and tragedies, alongside the triggers and signs that tend to activate your meaning-making. What we call your Growth Edges Map. Second, we develop an initial To-Do list that outlines where, how, and how far you want to go on your learning journey; what we call your Bridging Document. Together, we use these two tools to help you perceive and define the most important issues and problems that are  currently most important to you.

Basically, we believe you need to learn at least a little about how to organize your own learning. During your EDUCATE workshop, we test this proposition with you through the Life Challenges Interview to see whether you might agree.

If you do, your EDUCATE workshop is when we take the time to help you get a feel for the experiential and transformational learning skills you'll need if you're going to successfully deal with your toughest challenges. It's where we help you investigate the experiential learning hypotheses, threshold concepts, and basic ideas that will guide our learning journey. It's the time and place where you learn how to design and develop you own tailor-made learning journeys. 

Overall, your EDUCATE workshop is the time and the place where we simultaneously identify and investigate the issues, problems, and challenges you think you'll need to work on going forward.

step 3: Self-Directed Learning Experiments

TRANSFORM is the IET program's third step.

Regardless of whether you're an individual, a coach, a consultant, or a senior leader, TLO's TRANSFORM workshops are where you turn your attention toward designing and implementing a variety of real-world learning experiments. It's the step where we, in very concrete and practical ways, design, assess, strategize, rehearse, and then implement a wide array of self-directed learning experiments. Experiments that are aimed at testing, in safe but also challenging ways, exactly how you have to change both your thinking and your actions in order to deal with your life's toughest, most important issues.

During your TRANSFORM workshop, the prime question we ask is whether or not each of the experiments we've designed is both safe enough and risky enough to actually show you how to create new ways to think about yourself, the people around you, and the results your actions have usually produced. Through these carefully vetted personal learning experiments you purposefully place yourself in safe but powerful situations that expressly ask you to improvise fresh ways to squeeze viable action out of the double binds that until now have stymied and frustrated you. 

In short, IET's third step is where you use outside in your real world the experiential learning skills and competencies you explored in Step 2. Step 3 is where you use the "micro-skills" that are specific to personal and professional development. TRANSFORM is the place where you implement your real-life, "safe to fail" experiments that over time will create and stabilize the new architecture in your brain and body that you need to survive and thrive in the 21st Century.

In Practice...

IF what we're describing intrigues you, reach out. If our new INFORM, EDUCATE, TRANSFORM approach has you talking to yourself about its ideas, insights, and possibilities, reach out. If you're strenuously objecting to our assertions, reach out. Open a doorway and connect. Share a comment, criticism or question. Schedule a free TLO conversation. For sure, sign up for TLO's Quarterly Newsletters, TLO's Monthly Blogs, and an invitation to one of our 21st Century Dialogue Sessions.

Whichever link is most relevant, find a way to explore with us how our experiential learning workshops develop the new mind-brain-body talents and skills that you want and need to develop. Challenge us to show you exactly how, in weeks and months rather than years, the INFORM, EDUCATE, TRANSFORM program that we can design together will catalyze for you more sophisticated perspectives, powerful frames of reference, and complex mindsets.