Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

10 January 2018

And Listen

Clark @ 8:05 AM

Listening is a vital skill.  It’s something that made my mother very popular, because she listened, remembered, and asked about whatever you said the next time you saw her. She cared, and it showed. I wish I was as good a listener!  But it’s critical to really listen (or as some have it, not just listen, but hear).

It’s part of a skillset necessary to innovate. Innovation can be about problem-solving, and design thinking has it that it’s really about problem-finding.  That is, you want to understand the real problem first.  And to really understand the problem, the initial divergence, is to listen. It is listening to people, but also signals in general, what the data tells you.

And so, listening is an important part of communicating and collaborating.  We need to hear what’s being said (and maybe even what’s not being said), to truly hear. And we likely will need to ask, as well.  This is good, because it shows we’re paying attention.  Talking is speaking and listening.

And what precipitated this discussion is that in my new column for Learning Solutions (Quinnsights ;), I asked for any questions, and there was one that will be the topic of my next article for them. And I thought that was a good principle.

So, here’s the question:

Is there anything in particular you’d like me to post about here?

 As it is, I post about what I’m thinking about or working on (usually somewhat anonymously).   However, I could benefit to hear what you’re thinking about.  And post on it if I can.  Of course, you should be posting on what you’re thinking about too (#ShowYourWork #WorkOutLoud), but hey, why not cross-communicate?  As it is, I appreciate the comments I get, but this is just a way to feed my brain.

So, this is me listening.  Anyone want to catch my ear?


  1. Any “How Tos” using methods, tools and techniques that you’ve found to work in L&D and Performance Improvement.

    Comment by Guy W. Wallace — 10 January 2018 @ 8:22 AM

  2. Ideas, examples (and how they did it with the focus on the business case) of folks moving learning to the fringe (from the classroom to the point of need at the time of need).

    Comment by William Ryan — 12 January 2018 @ 4:47 AM

  3. I work in Corrections/Law Enforcement training and often have to cope with people who know little or nothing along with highly experienced staff in the same class. We struggle with getting the message across while being able to deal with the need for a multi level group. “Listening” is vital for training and in our business it is vital when dealing with “customers” and fellow staff as well. With that, I see in my own ongoing research many different sites (yours being a very good resource) and ran across this: https://www.cp-journal.com/learning-learn-steps/ Which outlines – from a criminal justice / security environment – how our students work with learning.

    Our trainers stress the students need to involve themselves fully in whatever the topic is and to really work the program – even if it is something they have done before. I would really like to explore the concept of “Learning to Learn” as discussed in one perspective in the referenced web site and how to leverage student needs for an improved learning/training experience. Thanks for your continued work.

    Comment by Paul Foreman — 12 January 2018 @ 12:39 PM

  4. Paul, interesting response. I think the article misses the details of what constitutes meaningful practice (c.f. Ericsson’s Peak), but it’s a nice analysis. I’d also argue for a blended learning approach, so that before that valuable face-to-face time is reached, those without background have seen some elearning that levels the playing field. More experienced hands could, for example, test out. And, as you suggest, epistemology plays a role: what do learners *believe* is their role in learning? Thanks for the contribution, and intend to refine this into a post.

    Comment by Clark — 15 January 2018 @ 2:17 PM

  5. And, done. Thanks for the prompt!

    Comment by Clark — 15 January 2018 @ 2:22 PM

  6. William, I will cheekily point to the case studies in my Revolutionize L&D book, which did just that! Stay tuned. Thanks for the comment!

    Comment by Clark — 15 January 2018 @ 2:24 PM

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