When you’re travelling, you visit new places and meet sometimes the most weirdest people. You try out peculiar food and listen to music that you don’t understand at all. It might be that you’re having pizza in Ho Chi Minh City with a local university student. But then, he tells you that it’s the first time he’s having pizza. You’ll most certainly then talk about food. And eventually, you’ll both end up with new recipes.
This is called knowledge sharing. You perhaps gave a pizza recipe to the local student and he gave you a family noodle recipe. This is how we learn from other people: by sharing knowledge.
However, there’s another side to sharing knowledge, and that’s creating knowledge. But, creating new knowledge is only possible when learning is reciprocal. This is because, if a person shares knowledge to another, only the other learns. In fact, this is common in classrooms where the teacher shares knowledge in a monologue style and doesn’t receive much back.
Now, to make new knowledge creation possible, we need to insert discussion and interaction. This contributes to making learning reciprocal. One example of inserting discussion and interaction in a classroom, is by changing the room layout to a round-table format. This would facilitate interaction – with such reasoning as diminished power positions and higher chances of accessing a flow state.
Just like with the pizza story in Ho Chi Minh, sharing and knowledge creation needs a common thread of enquiry. In our games we drive this enquiry through powerful questions that tune people in the same wavelength. (Most of our questions are not about pizza, in case you were wondering) In addition, our serious games, be it the board game or tailor-made gamified experiences, address learning as a reciprocal activity. It’s fundamentally so, because normally the players – executives, entrepreneurs, managers, consultants – have vast knowledge and life experience banks which make each player a teacher.
When we play a serious game, learning happens by sharing with other players. Here’s an example of how this happens during a serious board game. A question comes from the game, a person puts forth his ideas and another player gains an insight from it. And this is where the magic happens, he builds on top of the other player’s idea and bounces it back. The players bounce back and forth their ideas because it’s part of the game to contribute. A third person might build on top of that and so forth. And so we have built – created – new knowledge.
Sharing with other players has its other, besides creating new knowledge, benefits. Like that it builds trust and happiness from the enjoyment of giving and taking. If you are more into finding how sharing with others helps you to become successful, we suggest you read Adam Grant’s book “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success”.
To round it up, it’s important to share knowledge, but it’s even more important to build on top of people’s knowledge. Do this by giving your perspective on the shared knowledge and you’ll be on your way to creating new knowledge. To make this possible in a wider environment, you ought to facilitate discussion and interaction. A couple possibilities for this are, for instance, changing room layouts and playing serious games.