Creating ‘intentional learners’ in our workshops

By Bruno Vanneste

In an age where information is omnipresent, the true challenge is not merely accessing knowledge but engaging with it meaningfully. Inspired by insights from my Kaospilot course on “Designing Learning Spaces,” we have transformed our approach as a facilitator and leader of workshops. We have shifted from creating mere consumers of information to nurturing intentional learners. This fundamental change is central to our philosophy and enhances the effectiveness of our learning and development initiatives.

Aligning on intentions, not just expectations

Traditional workshops often begin with listing expectations, a practice that presupposes a one-size-fits-all solution to learning. In our experience, this approach can inadvertently promote passive consumption rather than active engagement. Instead, we take time to explore and align on the intentions behind why each participant is present. This process goes beyond surface-level desires and taps into deeper, more personal objectives, helping to tailor the learning experience to actual needs.

The pitfall of consumer behavior

In many settings, the context—often dictated by logistical necessities or client demands—encourages participants to adopt a consumer mindset. They come expecting to be fed information that they can passively absorb and regurgitate. Our role is to transform this setting, making it clear that participants are not just consumers but co-owners of the learning space. This shift is crucial for fostering an environment where participants are actively involved and invested in their own learning journey.

Making participants co-owners of the learning experience

When participants feel ownership of their learning, engagement increases dramatically. We encourage this by involving them in the creation and facilitation of the learning process. This empowerment helps break down the barriers between ‘delivering’ and ‘receiving’ knowledge, making the workshop a shared, collaborative space.

Activating intentionality from the start

To cultivate a culture of intentional learning, we begin our engagement with participants well before the first live intervention. Through preliminary activities and communications, we encourage participants to reflect on and articulate their intentions and what they wish to achieve. This pre-engagement is critical as it sets the stage for a more focused and intentional learning experience.

Beyond the workshop: a journey of continuous development

Our commitment to developing intentional learners does not end when the workshop does. We strive to instill a mindset of continuous, self-directed learning. Each session is designed not only to meet immediate learning objectives but also to equip participants with the skills and motivation to continue their development independently, turning insights into action and intention into continuous growth.

Conclusion

As leaders in leadership- and teamdevelopment, our goal is to guide participants through a transformative process that transcends traditional learning paradigms. By focusing on intentions rather than passive consumption, we help create learners who are actively engaged, deeply involved, and truly intentional about their personal and professional growth.

In this journey, we are not just facilitating knowledge but are partners in a continuous learning process that prepares individuals to navigate complexities in innovative and effective ways. Let us move forward together, not just as learners, but as intentional architects of our own development.

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