“Should I read up on this trend? Do I have the time to learn about it in the first place?”
How often have you asked yourself those questions? When I see a new exciting blog being shared on Twitter or Facebook I often wonder whether I should dig deeper and how I can do this most effectively. In an effort to offer an alternative way to answer these questions, we just launched STRIDE Labs, an intensive 1.5 days learning format that introduces emergent “matters of concern”.
Knowledge you cannot google
We feel that with so much “knowledge as information” out there on the web, the only reason to physically come together is to ”generate knowledge you cannot google.” Benjamin Franklin once wrote ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’ He was spot on. Indeed, Franklin could have also been a Founding Father of STRIDE :).
Calling our modules “labs” does not only follow a trend but actually reflects a radical new understanding of the classroom. Instead of one-directed transmission of knowledge, we employ an experimental set-up where teachers, students, and material together form an ecology of learning. As mentioned above, the subject matter of STRIDE Labs should always be judged and chosen according to its potential to be a “matter of concern” for both faculty and participants. Labs should be formats where students and teachers together work on developing “clumsy solutions to wicked problems.” We operate from a fundamentally different understanding of “the professor”. Instead of him (or her) being a person who has proven his worth through academic research, our “professors” are selected based on “mastery by practice” criteria. This means also the “professors” have the interest to deepen their know-how of the topic.
In short, these are not learning formats where you will sit and listen to a lecturer for 1,5 days. On the contrary, you will be actively engaged in creating the knowledge and bringing your concrete questions and real-life cases to the learning lab.
A Lab’s starting point comes from a practical problem (e.g. “How can I reach customers for my awesome product?”) and it includes a deconstruction of the buzzwords built around it (“marketing”, “branding” etc.). By personally going through Kolb’s learning cycle, you will identify your “matter of concern” filling these black boxes with meaning mediated through personal experience, reflection, and input by the topic’s master (i.e. the Lab teacher).
There will be approx. 12 STRIDE Labs per year on different topics. These are always emerging areas of knowledge. This autumn we will start with three Labs. We are thrilled by the diverse range of themes. First, in October, we will host a Lab on Community – Seeding, Building, and Unleashing the Power of Community. Communities are all the buzz – and rightly so. We will answer the question how to build communities that allow creating the fertile ground for collaboration and a sense of belonging? Our second Lab is taught in November by faculty member Cristina on Future and Emerging Technologies. The third Lab is led by faculty member Diego on Self-Leadership and will take place in December. Together with Xing Zurich, we host the #expulZ series of Lab teaser events that you can visit.
Let’s face it: within the Swiss further education market (“Weiterbildungsmarkt”) certification is important. Both to “prove” a person’s mastery of a topic and for an employer to justify spending money on educating their staff further. At STRIDE we feel the most important is the actual mastery by the learner, but we understand the need to be able to show this. This is why we are combining the launch of the STRIDE Labs with the launch of our new form of certification: the STRIDE unCertificate in topic X. The unCertificate will not only prove you have learned about a certain theme but also show you’ve done it with the unique STRIDE entrepreneurial learning methodology and set you apart from other learners in the job market. In order to obtain the unCertificate and complete the Lab, you will start with a 2-4h pre-assignment (“knowledge you can Google”), followed by the intensive 1,5-day in-class learning experience, and closed with a real-life project where you apply the learning (4-8h).
Will you be able to learn about all new trends? Certainly not. However, asking yourself “is this a matter of concern to me” will help you select what you want to spend your valuable time on. STRIDE Labs are an innovative approach to effectively help you master an emerging topic. A learning revolution is starting. And you can be part of it.
A background in business and economics, Niels’ curiosity took him through multiple countries and professions before finding his passion in social entrepreneurship and in Switzerland. After co-founding the Impact Hub Zürich, building its community and setting up its operations, he needed a break and went on a trip through Asia and Africa. Since Mid-2012 Niels is back as Program Director desig...
Niels Rot, Program Director & Member of the Advisory Board of Impact Hub Zurich