Learning Journeys à la Monkey Business

July 2010 has been a great learning journey month with friends from TA around Europe.  I felt like harvesting a bit of this concept of Learning Journey, because that’s becoming such a key element in Monkey Business’s business!

One significant day in the 3-weeks journey of mine was the day of attending the thesis presentation session of Liher at Mondragon University / MTA. Liher had done his thesis about Learning Journeys. In his presentation he reflected what he had learned in the journeys he did together with the TA network over the past 1,5 years, and how he will use his learnings in the future. The topic was really real and tangible, because due to the experience Liher had gathered, MTA had given him a challenge to organize all the learning journeys of LEINN and MINN University programs to Finland, US California and China during this and the next year. Quite a nice challenge, I thought! One significant interest factor at Liher’s story for me was that I had been with him in most of the learning journeys he described, and he had indentified that we could work on the journeys together in the future as well.  Super! For me the Learning Journeys theme resonated well with the Travel Agency for Superheroes concept, that we have been developing in Monkey Business recently, so here I’ll share the ideas that popped up while enjoying the dialogue at Liher’s session.

The style of the event was open and full of inquiry, such as: What is a learning journey?, that Liher asked from us. I made a drawing of the success factors of my kind of learning journey and here it is:

Then the dialogue moved into the learning journeys with a meaning. What’s your meaning of taking a journey?, was the question. What’s the trigger? There must be many, ne could go to learn about people, surf, Art of Hosting, SoL, food, the Hub’s, sports, learning, Team Academy, Kaospilots, fun, sun, snow, hot, cold, history, personal discovery or cultures – you name it!

As organizers of multiple the learning journeys we then wondered: What’s the needed agenda / structure for a successful journey? Connections, networks and the first night booking were the obvious first thoughts. But the type of the journeys Monkey Business arranges is preferably with open agenda and created in dialogue with our guests. We try to avoid arranging trips with predictable results (referring to the slogan in our Banana card ”How would you feel if someone gave a you banana that had been chewed already?”). Cornerstones of our journeys are Monkey spirit, TA spirit and knowledge of the destination with local friends. Challenges are to network even better in the world of facility providers, such as accommodators and restaurants so that we could concentrate on our main strenght which is creating experiences rather than booking facilities. However, we gotta build the network of trusted facilities as well!

After talking about the facilities Maria, a professor of MU asked: How can we move people into a learning journey? Because for sure learning journey does good, but only if a person is ready to take it and jump in. Can we create a need? Creating the need might work out by talking about the content / calling questions / topics of the journey, but what if Learning Journey guests come with the fear of jumping in and opening up for anything that might come? Fear is the one that blocks the most. So how do we overcome the personal fear and closure? That was the final question posed in the session, and stayed unanswered.

Now in the case of LEINN journeys, Liher and Monkeys practice the way to create a journey that takes off the fear. The fact is that in the coming September there are 60 people to come for a Learning Journey to TA Finland, and soon after that in March 25 people going to California and on the next autumn double to California and 25 to China… Liher, Monkeys are there for you to help you and for sure this concept of Learning Journeys deserves some thinking / dialoguing work. Maybe it starts from creating the Leading Thoughts for our Travel Agency for Superheroes? Who’s up to that!?

With Yellow summer mood,

Henna Monkey

p.s. I’ve just finished reading a book Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie, hence the artsy illustration trial. Note the nailpolish that acted as a glue and marker!

More Action. More Chaos. More Mistakes. More Learning.

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