Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Turn your Tutor/Mentor org into a Learning Organization: What's that Mean?

On several posts I've focused on "learning", not from the view point of a third grade teacher, but from the perspective of a country with complex problems where everyone needs to spend time digging into information to understand the problems, the solutions, and what roles they can take. 

Last year I wrote about the Passionate Employee, after reading an article from the Deloitte University Press. I saw a follow up article today. Here's the link to my article. Look for the link to the current Deloitte article in the comments section.  As you read these articles imagine how volunteer involvement in tutor/mentor programs and other types of volunteer-based organizations could inspire employees to become seekers of knowledge and solutions on an on-going basis, and how much more valuable they would be to their employers. Imagine how the volunteers who are part of your organization could be mentoring these habits and skills to kids, starting as early as elementary school.

Over the past 10 years interns working with me have created two visualizations, that show how volunteers who are well supported, and stay multiple years in a tutor/mentor program, become motivated to do their own deeper learning, and take extra roles to help the kids they work with, and the organization they are part of. 

Here's one:  Click this link. Then put your mouse over the number (1). Listen to what's said, then click on (2), then (3) then (4). At that point, click on (1) again and the cycle repeats showing how a volunteer in his/her second year is learning more than in the first year. This animation has four cycles. It was created by a University of Michigan volunteer during a one week winter break period of service.  (2017 Note: you may need to view this animation in this video)

Next, look at the presentation below (video). It shows how a volunteer first hears a call to become a volunteer, then searches for a place to get involved. Once he/she begins to meet weekly with a youth, he begins to informally tell friends, family and co-workers about his involvement. Over time this results in more people also becoming involved, as additional tutors/mentors and/or as donors, or even policy makers.

This project was first created in 2006 by an intern from Hong Kong, then was updated in 2010 by an intern from South Korea, via IIT in Chicago.  

A learning organization is one where all participants are looking in information libraries, like the one I host, for ideas that make them more effective tutors, mentors, and make their organizations more effective at attracting kids and having a life-changing impact on their lives, as a result of multiple years of participation.  Read this article about Personal Learning Networks, and think of ways you can instill these habits in  your kids, volunteers and staff.

I have over 200 youth serving non-school tutoring and/or mentoring programs on this list of Chicago programs.  I don't know how many, if any, apply the learning and volunteer support strategy that I show in these two presentations.  In other cities around the country, I don't know how many, if any, programs apply this strategy.

However, I do believe that if more programs were applying this strategy, there would be a growing army of volunteers in each city, and in the country, working to assure that every program had the flow of talent, technology, operating dollars, ideas and other resources needed to support additional volunteers and youth and help more kids enter these programs in elementary or middle school and stay involved through high school, post  high school and into jobs and careers.

I hope you'll take some time over the holidays to view these and share them with your own organization's leadership team.

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

This 2016 article about social learning in organizations, titled "Social Learning Cannot be a Bolt On Strategy" is relevant reading for those interested in this topic.