For teacher turned start-up founder Adam Lupu, work should be wonderful. And that “wonderful” starts with knowledge and effective training.

However, traditional training models are broken. The answer? A community-based approach to learning centered on the exchange of ideas that builds an unforgettable work experience that is, well, wonderful.

The challenge to making work not simply better, but “wonderful,” lies in the variety of the meanings of the word “better.” Everyone has their own definition of better — but “wonderful”? Well, according to Adam and his Startwise, “We know when work is wonderful, we know those moments, and we can look back and say that’s when work was really wonderful.” It’s this concept of wonderful that shapes and molds Adam’s approach to work and community-based training as the catalyst for that wonderful.

Top Takeaways From This Episode

#1 – Successful Training Has Three Levels. Most Stop With One.

Although the concept of “wonderful” might be rooted in emotions, Adam’s tactics for achieving it are grounded in the scientific. This is demonstrated through his understanding of three distinct levels of learning.

1. Lecture Style

This is the first and most common. We all know it. It’s the Stand and Deliver method of a “teacher” teaching in front of would-be learners. Surprisingly, this style accounts for only a 15% knowledge transfer. You’re not going to get a lot of learning from just telling people information.

2. Deliberate Practice

The next layer is intentional learning toward the desired goal. It involves asking yourself, “What do I want to get good at? What do I want to improve?” Deliberately working on and practicing something yields over a 50% transfer of knowledge.

3. Community Knowledge

Community knowledge is the trickiest and most challenging of the three, but has the highest potential for true learning. It involves surrounding yourself with the right people to help you improve. Your team becomes a community of data holders that freely exchange knowledge with one another.

“When you’re working with other individuals, you see what they’re doing. You try to do that. You might add that to your practice or ask them to tell me what you’re doing and how you’re getting these results. And you start to create this community for yourself, if it’s not just one lecturer up at the front…

“Everyone becomes a mentor.”

#2 -Make Challenges Part of Training

When someone joins your team for the first time, give them a daily challenge. Something simple, actionable, achievable.

After some time, turn that into a weekly challenge. Make it slightly bigger and bolder than before. Then shift to monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Do this in perpetuity, and you begin to stack obvious growths over time that will help their development and establish them as future knowledge centers for your organization.

“Like always have something that you’re working on, something that you’re learning and kind of keeping track of that. Getting into a rhythm or a pace really is helpful.”

#3 -Turn Agents Into Teachers

The best way to learn an idea, concept, or tactic is simply to teach it.

Yet, in order to teach others, Adam says, you must practice with the goal of achieving an understanding that surpasses superficial understanding.

For teachers, learning the material themselves is top priority. By combining multiple levels of learning, teachers can retain up to 70% of the knowledge and data they are sharing.

Teachers become teachers so they can refine their knowledge, dedicate themselves to true learning, and understand how different data points are tied together.

Can’t-Miss Quotes

Know-How vs. Knowledge

Knowledge would be something that you can recall from memory based on a given prompt. When you’re getting a multiple-choice question, you get the prompt and you’d have to recall from memory, something that appears like one of those things. And typically most training assessments kind of fall into those categories, knowledge tests, but know-how tests are actually like know-how assessments and actual know-how is when you’re applying that knowledge into practice.

Learning’s Best-Kept Secret

This is a secret that’s been well-kept for about 150 years. Teachers teach to learn the material themselves. The 15% of knowledge transmission we talked about for a lecture is actually more than 70% for the actual teacher. Why, why is that? Because they’re actually thinking about and deliberately practicing, “Okay. What am I going to say? Okay. Why am I going to say that? Okay. How is this knowledge tied together?

A Good Addiction

I would say learning is addicting if it’s done well and you’re making progress. Because, I actually can’t shut it off anymore. I’m like, yeah. I can’t say no to that question. Do you want to learn today?

Can I Get Your Attention?

And one of the key pieces [of personal growth and development], from my research, in the academics of learning how brains work, how people learn together, and then in groups, it comes down to is really “attention.” Are you putting your attention or are you guiding your teammate’s attention to the right tools, the right resources, the right learning opportunities?

More Development, Please

When people say, “Hey, I want that career development. I want that professional development baked into my job. I want to know that there are opportunities for growth,” It’s really about, are there places where you can actually put your attention on a focused, designed learning experience that also fits in within your daily responsibilities

Run With Purpose

Instead of thinking about (learning) like a raw score that you try to improve, like how much you can lift at the gym or how fast you can run a mile… (You have to be intentional.) You can’t just aimlessly run in any direction if you’re a runner and expect to achieve results.

So you kind of have to say, am I going to get up and learn? OK, let’s do it.

About Adam

Current Role: Founder & CEO of Startwise

Backstory: Longtime teacher and data-fascinated learner of the science behind learning and knowledge.

Connect with Adam: LinkedIn | Twitter | Website