Being in Istanbul, Turkey to do a program evaluation training on behalf of the United Nations naturally means eating a Turkish breakfast. This morning I found myself musing about learning over olives. Yes olives.
I was watching the pile of uneaten olives grow on the plates of my breakfast mates. David Muthami, a music producer from Kenya and Sara Mitaru, a Messenger of Truth also from Kenya, were talking traditional Turkish breakfast. If you haven’t eaten one, a traditional Turkish breakfast that is, they usually has some combination of fresh bread, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, hard boiled egg and olives. This is my idea of a great breakfast, which I’m known to attack with gusto.
Olives are an acquired taste however. David described them as tasting like sand mixed with vinegar, salt and sour milk. Which other than making me think this guy has a way with words, got me thinking about learning.
What is normal, natural and right for one is abnormal, unnatural and not right for another. I love olives and eating them at breakfast is perfectly fine with me. David, not so much. As his face soured at the thought of eating an olive, I thought it made for a great comparison for learning.
Learning atmospheres – do you like yours quiet and serene or noisy and rambunctious? Solo or with a crowd?
Learning content – do you like to dive right in and try new things or do you prefer to take a more cautious, thoughtful approach?
Learning style – do you prefer to learn by seeing, hearing and/or doing?
If you have a certain preference (say quiet reflection) and a trainer works from another approach (jump in, go, go, go) then it’s like asking David to wolf down olives gleefully and willingly. What is one person’s salty slice of heaven is another’s “sand mixed with vinegar, salt and sour milk”.
As learning and development specialists it’s our responsibility to provide a banquet of learning of opportunities so if someone chooses to pass on the olives there are lots of other tasty treats to tantalize their learning taste buds.