Principle #8: Learn in harmony with your brain

In the book, The New Science of Learning, Terry Doyle and Todd Zakrajsek do a great job of relating the most recent findings in neuroscience to our learning structure and habits.

The authors point out simple actions that can significantly increase your physical ability to learn. Below, I have quoted a few of them which you can start applying immediately, without the need for drastic changes in your daily life:

- Revisit and, preferably, practice with some frequency something that was learned recently. For example, at the end of each day I make a short summary of what I learned that day. In addition to entering the information on my Learning Mosaic, a Learning 3.0 tool, I set what I call “learning messages”, which is basically a setting in my email app, which sends me messages routinely with information about my latest learning.

- Sleep is one of the greatest allies to increasing your learning capacity. 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep is what appears necessary for most people to consolidate a good sleep. Recalling that it is during sleep that the memorisation’s “heavy lifting” is done by your brain.

- Research shows that after learning something new, it is very important to have a short break. For example, with some dynamic in which you keep your eyes closed and do not receive new information. It would, therefore, be a good habit to devote some time to this kind of relaxation over a working day. Aerobic exercise also contributes greatly to the improvement of learning.


A knowledge worker who doesn’t know how their brain works, and doesn’t have attitudes that contribute to their learning ability, is the same case as a professional driver who doesn’t understand how their car works and, often, has harmful attitudes towards it.

You depend on your brain to learn, so it’s better take good care of it.

Are you ready to introduce Learning 3.0 in your creative professional life? Get one a copy of Learning 3.0’s How Creative Workers Learn today!

Principle #7: Visualising learning is better than measuring it

During my experiments for the first Learning 3.0 book, I visited many companies and interacted with many people. In each one of them, once I understood the context and shared everything I had compiled about emergent learning, we met to decide in which experiment to invest.

One of these experiments was intended to encourage knowledge sharing among employees, also providing the opportunity to build new knowledge. We also wanted to see how people would behave once they had made the decision and to invest their time in the accomplishment of work tasks, knowledge sharing and learning practice.

We created a board that we called “The Brain.” In it, each employee published a list of topics which they thought they had enough relevant knowledge of to share, making themselves available to help those who wanted to learn more about it, or when facing problems.

Throughout the working day, people could seek each other out for some help with a topic, and each one organised their schedule, deciding the way that was best suited to help them. For a month, many people exchanged and built knowledge, requiring only the addition of some constraints to help them to organise themselves around their activities.

Everything was going relatively well until, at a meeting on whether to proceed with the model or not, we were asked how we could ensure that “real” learning was happening. They said: “We know that informal learning is valid but we believe that the investment in this movement is very high, maybe because we are not managing to measure people’s learning.”

When asking for a suggestion of how this could be done, naturally the suggestion was: “What if we created tests around the main topics that we need to learn? Or, what if as a consolidation of the learning, we demand them to take some certification in that topic?”.

Tests are at the heart of prescriptive learning, the soul of Learning 1.0

To test someone on a topic, you should be able to anticipate what the person will have to learn. Only in that way can you create questions for the test, determine the expected answers and, finally, certify those who achieve a minimum score.

Luckily, I managed to convince them to follow a different path. Basically, what we did was add some additional symbols to our board. For example, each time the knowledge that was built internally had been useful to solve a real work problem, a sticker with a star was added to the person’s card. A similar way of working is known as “This tip was helpful” which is applied in many internet services. Soon we saw several stars spread across the board, and it was visible to all, including management, how big the return that of continuously applied learning was to their work.

When everything seemed stable, someone commented: “The problem is that when we do training or certification, we receive proof of the knowledge we acquired there but with this model, it is difficult to prove the knowledge we have built day by day. ” My immediate response was,

“OK, if the problem is that, from now all of you are empowered to issue certificates to each other on those topics that you have mastered. Solved?!”. ;-)


Are you ready to introduce Learning 3.0 in your creative professional life? Get one a copy of Learning 3.0’s How Creative Workers Learn today!

Principle #6: Ideas are as important as experiences

For many years I was engaged in several discussion groups related to topics of my interest. I found it to be a great tool to meet people, create communities and learn through them. However, something that still bothers me about the discussions that take place in that kind of group is the fact that messages based on real experiences, preferably when written by (self-proclaimed) experts, are often being considered more valuable and, of course, taken more seriously.

In the first Learning 3.0 book I often say that, in complex situations, there is no guarantee that a practice that has worked in the past and/or in a different context would have the success when applied again, even when it is used to solve exactly the same problem.

Hence, previous experiences are not necessarily the best basis for new knowledge to be built on, so do not let the concept of best practices blind you!

Good sources for the resolution of a real-world problem may be in ideas coming from people who have never gone through such a situation, or even lived in a similar context to yours.


The creative worker learns better when, in his learning process, he organises and connects information without distinction. It is necessary, therefore, having enough room for ideas, hypotheses and speculations.

Are you ready to introduce Learning 3.0 in your creative professional life? Get one a copy of Learning 3.0’s How Creative Workers Learn today!

Principle #5: Optimise Your Learning Networks

I believe that the main trend found in all interviews I did for the first Learning 3.0 book relates to learning networks. Most creative workers who I talked to mentioned being a part of these networks and investing much of their energy in them. They do this because they consider such an investment to have the highest return when it comes to learning.

In the book I share the story of Leonardo Campos, a creative worker who has organised an interorganisational learning network based on Lean Cofee model. The idea was to create a group where people could co-create new knowledge in a collaborative way. Very Learning 3.0, right?

A similiar practice in education is also presented in the book: the Connecticut Superintendents’ Network case, in the United States. For eight years, this group brought together twenty-six education secretaries engaged in improving learning in schools in their districts through two-week rounds. These rounds were designed to escape the “meeting” or “committee” formats and to focus instead on collaboration by explicit practice.

In the Brazil Learning Camp, Winter 2015 edition, Laurence McCahill, our special guest from The Happy Startup School, shared with us some important observations he has made while growing learning communities. Happy campers were there to get the message! Fortunately, later Laurence decided to write a pretty nice post about this subject: A Guide to Creating Happy Learning Communities


Are you ready to introduce Learning 3.0 in your creative professional life? Get one a copy of Learning 3.0’s How Creative Workers Learn today!

Principle #4: Share it! This is the best way to learn

The act of sharing is being increasingly inserted into our daily routine. We share photos, videos, ideas, messages, experiences, references and much more. The truth is that we have never shared so much!

A point to note in all this is that perhaps it is not as explicit to each of us how much we learn when we share. When you share, you invite people to a conversation. This conversation, naturally, will start or sustain a learning process, and that is where everyone wins.

Sharing is also an important step in creating a learning culture, because, when you share, you influence and inspire others to do the same

As Marilee Sprenger wrote in the book Learning and Memory: “Human beings are social creatures, and learning is a social activity.” So, the more you share, the more you open yourself to social experiences and, consequently, more learning opportunities will arise before you.


Are you ready to introduce Learning 3.0 in your creative professional life? Get one a copy of Learning 3.0’s How Creative Workers Learn today!

Principle #3: Be the protagonist of your learning

Through the stories told in the first Learning 3.0 book,it is clear that, for a learning process to be suitable for this new way of thinking, creative workers need to respect who they are and enable their preferences.

Books, articles, discussions, mailing lists, study groups, learning shots, social networks, videos, coding dojos, prototyping, conferences, coaching, visiting other companies, eLearning, workshops, communities of practice, hangouts, experiments, exploration days, hackathons, gamification… in short, there are an unlimited number of practices compatible with the Learning 3.0 flow (problematising > researching > connecting > practicing > sharing), and that can be included in the construction of your own learning process.


Learning 3.0 is about helping people to build learning processes suitable for who they are, how they learn, how they feel at that moment, and the context in which they are included. Only then will they become protagonists of their own learning.

Are you ready to introduce Learning 3.0 in your creative professional life? Get one a copy of Learning 3.0’s How Creative Workers Learn today!

Principle #2: Delve only into what is in front on you

In the book Escolas Sem Sala de Aula, Ricardo Semler tells a very interesting story about a group of classmates from Fundação Getúlio Vargas, in the 80s, for which he was invited to be patron. “I went there to say, first, that I thought it was a course that looked backwards and, therefore, taught new generals to fight old battles. [...] When you finally reach the positions you aim for, they will no longer exist. And, so, what you had here was a colossal waste of time”.

In complex scenarios it is virtually impossible to anticipate the knowledge that will be necessary for you to do your next or future job, thus making the investment in in-depth study of future possibilities is a tremendous waste of time and energy.

In the new learning mindset, knowledge workers raise the sense of urgency of what they need to learn to solve the challenge that lies ahead, whether it was planned or not.

For the predictability lovers, being reactive in the learning process may sound like a “planning failure”. But for those who see the new world exactly as it is, this represents acquiring a greater adaptability and resilience.


Thus, creative workers should only invest in learning fundamentals that in general, interest them or which they believe maybe be useful in the future. Moreover, they must leave to delve into learning only what is deemed necessary to perform the work that lies ahead.

Are you ready to introduce Learning 3.0 in your creative professional life? Get one a copy of Learning 3.0’s How Creative Workers Learn today!

Principle #1: Learn in the real world

Unlike athletes who train exhaustively before having their learning tested in a competition, and also the industrial worker who is often trained to repeat known actions during execution, the creative worker learns much of what he needs to do his job at the same time he is working. This is inevitable, but also stimulating, and can happen both intentionally and accidentally.

When this happens purely by accident, there is a great possibility of stress, as managers, usually, understand the worker should know how to do such work, and should not “waste time” learning how to do it. This attitude creates an unsustainable work pace, discouragement, estimate inflation, and far worse consequences.

To take advantage of the great opportunity to learn in an integrated way with work, creative workers, and their companies, need to align expectations related with the space and time for learning. Having this alignment, these workers will be able to, intentionally, invest energy in learning what is necessary to do the work that lies ahead.

I’m not talking about separating two hours a day, or eight hours a week, to “allow” the worker to be reading a book or doing research on the Internet; I speak of empowering workers with the purpose that they mix learning and work on their own while they find opportunities and needs for such.
H. Jarche mentions that: “Working is learning, and learning is working.” Thus, creative workers should have a new view of their work environments, as the best learning opportunities will be found there.


In the book “How Creative Workers Learn”, the first of the Learning 3.0 series, there is an interesting conversation between Ana Flavia and her boss William, two of the main characters of the book, that goes deeper on this principle. When William says that his employees should be paid to work and not to learn, Ana replies:

True learning is now embedded in the work. The need to learn comes through our relationship with a context that is constantly changing, and it resolves itself while we iterate and learn in the real world. In almost any situation which you see us learning, William, we actually are working, or rather, we are almost doing both.

Are you ready to introduce Learning 3.0 in your creative professional life? Get one a copy of Learning 3.0’s How Creative Workers Learn today!

Who are you in the learning game?

I spend a lot of my time promoting learning experiences and sometimes I get labeled (by others or myself) as a teacher, trainer or instructor. Sure, I used to be an instructor of language programming, a certified instructor for Borland products, a teacher of project management and since 2008, I’ve been a certified scrum trainer for the Scrum Alliance.

Since I’m passionate about learning experiences, I’ve invested a lot of energy developing my teaching, learning and facilitation skills. I have experimented with different approaches in my classes, from Presentation Zen to Training from the Back of the Room; and I think that I have been able to provide some value to the participants of my classes.

The facilitative trainer

I think that one of the main reasons behind my success as a trainer was because I became a facilitative trainer. But what does that really mean?

As a trainer, my primary role is to transfer specific knowledge to individual participants. This knowledge is a set of predefined content blended with my previous experiences and predictions. It forms the product of learning.

But as a trainer, I also need to manage the group, space and time. In essence, I should have some didactic skills to transfer knowledge in an effective way as it essentially forms the process of learning.

Being facilitative as a trainer means being more open to the product and/or the process of learning. Some notable examples:

- Allowing more room for interactions among and with the participants;

- Creating more interactive games, exercises and activities;

- Promoting an energising and inspiring environment;

- Ensuring that the table of contents can be adapted by the participants’ influence;

Facilitative trainers became the norm at the beginning of this century and they usually provide much more value than bureaucratic trainers, but being a facilitative trainer is not the same as being a facilitator.

The learning facilitator

A learning facilitator is needed when a group must construct knowledge, not acquire it. The facilitator tunes the process of learning and respects the capacity of that group in forging the answers to their own problem. As posed by Carl Rogers: “The facilitator is genuinely free of a desire to impose ready-made truths or to control the outcome”.

I tried several times to become a genuine facilitator during my training courses, but I didn’t succeed. Why? It’s simple:

a classroom is not the place for facilitators, the real world is.

That’s why we created the “learning shot” concept.

Swarm or hierarchy?

Learning shots are short events based on real-world problems. Training courses are events based on an expert’s/player’s proposal of solution.

A theme of a good learning shot, for example, is something like “How to become more productive” or “How to increase employee engagement”. These real problems.

On the other hand, a title of a training course is more like “Using Evernote to increase productivity” or “The Three-Factor Model of Engagement”.

In a learning shot the group creates the knowledge. It happens by swarm behaviour. The facilitator is there to use the right processes in order to promote sharing, collaborative building, healthy discussion and so on.

On a training course, the trainer is the one who transfers the expertise to the attendees. Sometimes he or she is facilitative and develops this process in a more interactive way. But it always happens through hierarchical behaviour.

Hence, it’s clear that nobody goes on a training course expecting to be facilitated. It is also true that nobody should go to a learning shot expecting to be trained.

Every jack to his trade

The Learning 1.0 Kingdom sounds like the perfect place for bureaucratic guidance by traditional teachers and knowledge holders who will define the questions and answers to be transferred to students.

The Learning 2.0 Kingdom is a pretty good place for facilitative trainers or consultants, who still own the answers, but promote more interaction among the attendees or clients.

But there is a place where questions and answers should be developed by practitioners with the support of a learning facilitator. This is what I usually call: the Learning 3.0 Kingdom, but you can just call it the real-world.

So, in which kingdom are you living? Who are you in the game?

Join us!

livro_fisico The revolution of learning is underway and we’re all in! It’s just the beginning, which means: it’s the perfect time to take your seat.
If you want to feel what Learning 3.0 is, visit one of our learning shots or invite one of our awesome facilitators to run a shot in your company or city.
If you want to develop your facilitation skills either to become a learning facilitator or a more facilitative professional, come to Learning Camp. It’s a transformative experience, trust me!
And, of course, if you want to read more about Learning 3.0, pre-order now your copy of “How Creative Workers Learn”!