Learning how to learn – juggling and the 3E’s of learning

During college I was lucky to come across some amazingly varied cultures and characters during my studies. One of my favourite things to do when I had an hour off, and study done, was to head over to the Students Union bar, and see what was happening. Normally there were people eating, telling stories, but often there were events on that were incredible sometimes! 

One of my friends from my class, Daryl, was in the juggling society, and we’d often witness a load of these members outside the Students Union juggling balls, knives etc. At night time they even had flaming batons which were incredible! I always appreciated the skill but only recently got curious about the learning behind it. 

Joining the EMEA Learning team specifically over Leadership development recently, I’m being exposed to learning insights, thoughts, theories and systems behind embedding learning in the workplace. 

One of these is the 3E’s of learning – Experience, Exposure and Education. These are embedded into much of what we do and how we do it for our learners. 

I had set myself the goal of learning to juggle 3 balls this year. I did it for a few reasons. 

  • One was to go back to my college years and reflect on what I had seen and appreciate the skill of these individuals. 
  • One was to learn how to learn from the ground up and experience the 3E’s.
  • And the last one was because I think it’s cool and I love learning cool things that make me happier. 

So yesterday I bought my first set of juggling balls while out for a morning of hanging out with my dad. After having a coffee, and some muffin we headed back home and I took out the instruction manual and balls from the packet. 

I had presumed I’d be able to pick it up straight away and immediately picked up 2 balls. I juggled the way we typically see people juggle 2 balls, one throw up and over to the other hand, and one pass under resulting in what looked like juggling. 

I normally don’t read instruction manuals when assembling furniture from IKEA, much to my girlfriends dismay. However recently I have developed an awareness that I need to be more diligent, detailed and committed to foundational tasks even if I know what the desk is meant to look like once completed! 

I was intrigued to explore this for my juggling and so started from page one. Oh how I have so much to learn! The reward from reading through this has been incredible! It’s written in a fun, engaging, encouraging way and I was immediately interested in starting from page one and working my way through the book. 

And so I begun. Page 1. One ball. One hand. Up and catch 10 times and then do the same with the other hand. Up and catch. My inner child wanted to skip to page 10 immediately but I stuck with it. Mastered those 10 throws. 

Page 2. One ball. One hand to the other. Throw and catch. Throw and catch. 10 times. I was doing this in my families home, and laughed so hard at myself along with my dad as I dropped the ball so many times despite my confidence I could do it! 

This carried on through the first few pages. I’m now on 2 balls. Throw, throw, catch, catch. 

This morning, I decided to take my sister and dad through the same exercise of the initial pages. We started with one ball and progressed to alternate hands. We laughed so much at each other’s learning and development it’s been one of the funniest times at home! We were all engaged and enthusiastic wanting our turn to immediately follow a ball drop. We were giving each other tips, and also seeing for ourselves mistakes in front of us and this shared learning helped us pick it up quickly.

I started showing off because I was on page 10, but once I dropped a ball again, my ego was brought back to being a learner, a beginner – and we laughed and learned. 

I think learning in this tactile and shared way is my favourite style of learning and one I enjoy so much! Juggling is basic, but learning from being exposed to each other as they make mistakes and seeing how they develop, made the learning so interesting.

Pivot and learn. Pick it up and try again. Drop the ball, iterate and try again. Experience the learning, get Exposed to others as they learn, and read the manual to get the Education. 

Clown college awaits! 

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