Much information that we consume to improve our understanding of the world and to refine professional skills occurs in solitude. This includes reading books, articles and blogs, as well as listening to podcasts, tuning into webcasts and watching instructional videos.
And yet, there’s something special about learning together with others: feeding off the energy of other participants, learning from peers, sharing your insights and the feeling of solidarity from being part of a shared experience. If members of the group are encouraged to exchange ideas, they will influence the learning process in unpredictable, but often beneficial ways.
To paraphrase Llewellyn Hinkes Jones, who said this in a different context:
"The shared experience of listening with others is not unlike the cultural rituals of communal eating." Knowledge may not have the primal necessity of food, but it is something people commonly ingest together.
So I thought I’d write this brief note to encourage people to participate in events that bring professionals together, be it an informal reception at work, a local meet-up or a formal training event. We have much to teach each other. We have much to learn from each other.