In 2006, when I, along with 3 other friends Ram, Anand and Biju, started to build the world’s first Behavioral Sciences based design firm, I remember telling my colleagues that in Finalmile we will grow in discussions. In many ways there was no other option. But how well this option worked out is incredible. In a completely new field of behavioral sciences, with none of us having any academic background in it, we built rituals that were focussed on leaning and sharing. The weekly Limen, a one hour session every Monday, where the entire team met and shared learnings from the week – learning from books, articles, live projects client interactions and what have you. In some ways Limen and Learning became a hallmark of Finalmile’s culture that continues to date.
Mentza is built around similar principles of learning through sharing, scaling Limen across domains of learning and application. A place where people come together to share their thoughts, stories, curiosities in short conversations helping people grow, that tad bit, everyday of the week.
Why sharing makes learning better?
Despite the fact that It takes no rocket science to understand why sharing makes learning more effective, its a behavior that is almost always absent in learning environments. A webinar, seminar, classroom and stage are not designed for sharing of everyday learnings. They are lofty platforms for ‘giving knowledge’ with little to no collaboration from other listeners and learners. That is not what ‘learning through sharing’ is all about. On the contrary it is when, no matter how, where and what you are learning, you always have a way to share with folks in your circle, help them learn and gather their insights to further improve your own learning. Much like how corridors used to be outside our classrooms. Here are the reasons why learning through sharing is at least twice more effective
Slower Forgetting Curve: German Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus studied how we remember (& forget) things. His famous Forgetting Curve suggests that without any extra effort, over half of what we learn is forgotten within an hour, 2/3rd’s by the end of the day and 80% by the end of the month. That being said the critical factor in that curve is, what it is, “without any effort”. With the motivation of sharing, the additional effort one puts into absorption of knowledge, makes the forgetting curve half as steep and better at long term retention.
Improved Attentional Capacity: While regulating attention is a difficult task, attention by itself gets moderated by several embedded factors including interests, motives and duration of engagement. When one is motivated by the goal of sharing what one is learning, typically, it leads to higher focus on the matter of observation and study leading to better processing and understanding of information.
Sense of Social Commitment: The objective of social sharing adds an additional responsibility on the learner – to add value to the listeners. This social commitment makes our brain go the extra length in preparing ourselves for the moment of sharing.
Better Listening: ‘Listen-only’ modes of learning through podcasts, audio books etc. begin to get boring very soon, of course unless it’s a favourite topic. ‘Sharing & Listening’ mode on the contrary keeps you interested irrespective of the topic that is being discussed. That’s just how humans are. When we are in it we are and we are not we are not.
Most Importantly Perspective Building: Sharing of learnings provides opportunities for feedback, for challenges, critique and supplementation of your insights. This, emergent nature of learning when one is in a discussion, is critical to building a perspective, which other wise never gets a chance to develop.
My Learning-Sharing Channels on Mentza
These are the reasons why, I started my own three channels on Mentza, where I share my learnings, stories and insights in small circles of similarly interested speakers and engaged listeners.
Startup cliff (Sundays 12:30PM IST): Being an entrepreneur for over 15 years now, I understand that each entrepreneurial journey is a new one, with many learnings, successes and failures. In order to cement my own learnings and building perspectives with other’s knowledge and experiences, I started my first channel on Mentza – Startup Cliff. As the name suggests the channel discusses various challenges that startups face. Nearly 90 episodes now, I bring my own learnings & worries and engage with listeners and speakers to share, listen and learn. Many of my decisions in Mentza have been shaped by these conversations where others have shared as much as i have.
Newslies (Everyday 1:30 PM IST): The second channel is on current news. Not that I haven’t stayed updated to happenings around the world, but with this channel, whether I bring topics on court judgements, government policies, or world happenings, I always go back with an updated perspective having heard from every different point of view that exists. This is a new experience for me as most often in the past my news absorption was mostly an exercise in confirming my own beliefs rather than getting a rounded sense. Just recently I finished 100 episodes on this channel and with every episode I get better at processing and updating information. Those echo chambers seem to be disappearing on me.
Must Read Behavioral Sciences Books (Mondays 9:00 PM IST): Books are strangely notorious in remaining unfinished and often un-started. More over, even when we read, it’s difficult to see the full applications of the insights to our day to day work and life. In this channel, where I mostly discuss books related to cognitive sciences, I have seen a very significant difference in how I used to read with cursory attention to how I read now with notes & remarks.
Find Your Circle: Listen-Share-Learn
So no matter whether you are reading a book or an article, beginning to try your hands on a new skill or simply curious about things around you, go ahead and start a circle on Mentza, find interested people and engage in short 20-minute conversations. Mentza, is a learning platform that is conceptualised as a corridor where people meet without any barriers and engage in interesting conversations. All Conversations and recorded and made available to learners. (over 50K episodes).
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