The “Teach 1 Thing” Approach to Organizational Learning and Development

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Chris Hutchinson
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    Imagine a straightforward yet powerful method that revolutionizes how knowledge is shared, expertise is harnessed, and learning is ignited within organizations.  

    This is precisely what the “Teach 1 Thing” approach offers—a practical approach that transforms professionals into both learners and educators.  

    In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the mechanics of the “Teach 1 Thing” concept, furnish you with real-world examples, and equip you with the tools to seamlessly integrate this approach into your organization.  

    Regardless of your role or tenure, get ready to embark on a journey of collaborative learning that not only boosts your skills but reshapes how your organization thrives. 

    What is “Teach 1 Thing” Approach? 

    The “Teach 1 Thing” approach is all about sharing what you know best. We all have our areas of expertise, whether it’s a unique skill or something we’re passionate about. Imagine a mini classroom where each person gets to be the expert for a moment, teaching a quick lesson in their specialty. 

    This approach is especially valuable in workplaces and organizations because it taps into what we call “hidden knowledge.” This is all the little stuff we’ve learned or figured out over time that makes our work lives easier. Think about the things you might ask a coworker for help with—those are the things we’re talking about.  

    “Teach 1 Thing” takes these bits of knowledge and turns them into something more structured and formal. 

    By using this approach, we’re able to document and preserve this hidden knowledge. It’s like creating a library of useful tips and tricks that can be easily shared and built upon.

    This way, new skills can be passed on to employees, different departments can work together more, and it adds a fun way to keep learning a part of the company culture. 

    So, in a nutshell, “Teach 1 Thing” is about turning everyone into a teacher for a moment, sharing those little things that make work life smoother. It’s like having a collection of helpful how-to guides that make us all better at what we do. 

    Where to Use the “Teach 1 Thing” Approach? 

    The following are some examples of topics we’ve used for teach 1 thing workshops/mini courses, that are easily applied in most organizations: 

    Crafting Engaging Social Media Posts: 

    Unveil the secrets behind creating compelling content that resonates with your target audience across different platforms. 

    The Art of Networking: 

    Share tips for building and maintaining meaningful professional relationships, both in-person and online. 

    Effective Note-Taking Methods: 

    Share different approaches to note-taking, such as the Cornell method or mind mapping, for better information retention. 

    Healthy Desk Habits: 

    Educate your peers on ergonomics, stretching exercises, and mental breaks to maintain well-being during long work hours. 

    Basic Coding for Non-Programmers: 

    Introduce coding fundamentals, offering a crash course in SQL, HTML, CSS, or even a beginner-friendly programming language like Python. 

    Introduction to Data Visualization: 

    Break down the basics of creating impactful data visualizations that convey insights clearly and effectively. 

    Business Writing Essentials: 

    Provide guidance on writing professional emails, reports, and memos with clarity and professionalism. 

    As you can see, the possibilities and diversity of topics makes the teach 1 thing approach to professional learning and development adaptable and applicable to a wide range of topics.  

    You might have also noticed that some of the topics don’t necessarily relate directly to “work” but working life, and that’s another strength of this approach – by inviting everyone to contribute and share what they know, your organization can develop an entire library of learning opportunities which not only contribute to their development and ability to deliver but also enhance and improve their daily experience while doing so.  

    Hopefully by now the gears are turning and you already have some great ideas for “Teach 1 thing” mini course that would benefit your organization, so let’s look in a bit more detail how to plan your own lesson that teaches 1 thing.  

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    Creating Your Own “Teach 1 Thing” Session: 

    Choose Your Topic: 

    Start by identifying your passion or area of expertise. It could be a productivity hack, a communication skill, a project management tip, or even a creative outlet like photography or mindfulness. 

    Set a Clear Goal: 

    Define the main goal or takeaway for your session. What should participants be able to do or understand by the end? 

    Set the Stage: 

    Gather a group of colleagues or friends who share your enthusiasm for learning. Find a comfortable space, whether physical or virtual, where ideas can flow freely. Or make it a recurring optional event anyone can attend – for example every 3rd Friday afternoon. (Remember that because you will be using CLANED to help document and facilitate the session, employees can study and learn whenever they have the time and desire.  

    Schedule the Sessions: 

    Decide on the frequency and duration of your “Teach 1 Thing” sessions. Aim for bite-sized segments—anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour per session/topic—this should keep the energy high and the learning engaging as well as keep the focus on the essentials.  

    Begin with a review: 

    Ask participants about the pre-session materials – were they clear? Do they have thoughts, feedback, or questions? It’s important to ensure everyone is comfortable with the basic ideas before moving into how to practically apply them.  

    Learn by doing: 

    During the training session (remember to record it so it can be used later) keep the focus on applying the tools knowledge or ideas in a practical hands-on way. This allows for the opportunity for learners to practice and gain feedback.  

    Follow up: 

    If new information becomes available following the session (like an update to some software for example) continue to add additional resources that my support or help further develop the skills being taught.  

    By following and applying this approach organizations can quickly and easily develop a culture of learning and transform the idea and perception of learning at work. By providing quick, easy, and accessible trainings that improve the ability of employees to complete their work you’re providing “quality of life improvements” and these can have a significant impact on overall satisfaction and performance.   

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    Benefits of “Teach 1 Thing” Approach: 

    This approach thrives on the diversity of perspectives and expertise that professionals bring to the table. 

    It’s not just a learning tool; it’s a team-building catalyst that bridges gaps and forges connections. 

    Integrating “Teach 1 Thing” sessions into your organization’s culture can yield remarkable outcomes. 

    1. Unearthing Hidden Gems: 

    In the bustling hive of an organization, there are bound to be hidden talents and skills that often go unnoticed. The “Teach 1 Thing” approach provides a platform for these gems to shine, giving employees a chance to step into the spotlight and highlight their unique contributions. 

    2. Amplifying Team Collaboration: 

    By participating in each other’s teaching sessions, colleagues gain a deeper appreciation for one another’s expertise. This newfound understanding fosters collaboration and ignites creative synergies across departments that might not have interacted otherwise. 

    3. Cross-Pollination of Ideas: 

    “Teach 1 Thing” sessions are a fertile ground for cross-pollination. A marketing guru might teach effective storytelling techniques that resonate with the product development team. A finance wizard could shed light on budget management strategies that benefit the creative department. The result? A vibrant exchange of ideas that elevates problem-solving and innovation. 

    4. Nurturing Learning Culture: 

    Encouraging employees to share their knowledge cultivates a culture of continuous learning. It sends a clear message that growth is not just an individual pursuit, but a collective endeavour. The “Teach 1 Thing” approach fosters an environment where curiosity is celebrated, and the pursuit of knowledge is an ongoing journey. 

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    5. Embracing Inclusivity: 

    This approach is an inclusive bridge that transcends hierarchical structures. Whether you’re a seasoned executive or a fresh recruit, your insights are equally valuable. It fosters an environment where every voice is heard and appreciated, reinforcing a sense of belonging and camaraderie. 


    In a rapidly evolving landscape, the cultivation of a learning culture stands as a linchpin for organizational success. The “Teach 1 Thing” approach isn’t just a strategy; it’s a fundamental shift in how professionals contribute to collective growth.  

    As you embrace the “Teach 1 Thing” philosophy, visualize a network of insights and connections that solidify teamwork, amplify expertise, and drive innovation.  

    By adopting this approach, you’re steering your organization toward a future where learning is dynamic, collaboration is foundational, and collective progress is the goal. 

    With the “Teach 1 Thing” approach, professionals like you are not just consumers of knowledge; your active participants in a dynamic ecosystem of learning.  

    As each “Teach 1 Thing” session unfolds, you’ll not only expand your horizons but also inspire others to share their expertise. So, gather your clan, choose your topic, and embark on a journey of collaborative discovery—one “Teach 1 Thing” at a time. 

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