Creating a learning environment

As I am learning, I wish I could have the kind of learning environment where I was in a room with a lot of other people learning Korean, and we could work collaboratively.

Let me tell you a story about a great environment, where distractions were few, questions were quickly answered, and people learned rapidly.

computerThe first job I got out of college as a computer programmer, all of the programmers had to share just a few computers clustered into a corner. You were expected to write the program out on PAPER at your desk and only go to the computer when you had done all your thinking.  Computer time was very limited, and you had to jockey for space with the other programmers on staff.

Computers were expensive, programmers were not, back in those days.  A computer cost $5,000 and I made $9.60 an hour.  So we shared.

The surprising result was one of the best learning environments I have ever worked in. Programmers were shoulder to shoulder, forced to work quickly because people were waiting, and highly motivated to help each other.  You had a question, you just turned to the person next to you, and someone would shoot back a quick response.

I have often wanted to recreate this kind of learning circle with people all working on the same thing and sharing information.  Cubical walls just isolate programmers. Programmers working that tightly together were not playing Solitaire or browsing EBay! Mail interruptions came only once every 15 minutes, when an automated mail cart would roll into the room and you had to grab the paper mail quick.

We all have computers now, but it is harder to turn to the next person.  Yet we are interrupted far more often, with technology.  For tasks which need deep concentration, there are too many distractions.

Is there a way you can create a good environment to learn in?


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