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  • Rebecca Savill

Why I started Curio Class

Most days I work with software teams focusing on coaching and teaching the Scrum framework and the Agile mindset. Scrum is an iterative and incremental approach to handling the uncertainty of product development through continuously using experiments and feedback loops. That was a complicated way to explain it, but to me Scrum feels like the natural rhythm of creating something valuable.


In 2022, I qualified as a Professional Scrum Trainer and that’s when I got interested in how we learn. Whenever I looked back on notes from the courses I’d attended, I was reminded of everything I’d not applied and the learning I’d wasted. I was not alone and saw that many people who attend short courses typically forgot a lot of the information covered over the following weeks and months. That was the spark; I needed to find ways to extend the learning of my students beyond the courses I ran and make long-term learning easier for them.


Up to that point, like most people, I’d never questioned how to learn. Was learning not just simply reading, watching or listening to information and trying to memorise it? I thought helping my students to learn better would involve trying to make my courses more memorable to get them higher exam results.

It wasn’t until I started looking into the research that I realised how much more there was to effective learning than just consuming information. I was surprised at how much is known about how we learn and how little of that research we actually use in daily life. I had made it through decades of school, university, and professional qualifications and all I knew was how to memorise lists!


Infused with excitement at my learning revelation, I began looking for an easy-to-follow process that I could use with my students. Unfortunately, it seemed that all the amazing books and online articles about learning gave plenty of explanations, insights, suggestions and advice, however, none gave the reader a concrete, how-to guide to getting started.

This was a bit deflating, however I still wanted to provide my students with an easy-to-follow process. I wanted to help them carry on learning the principles and techniques I covered in my classes for the months and years following. So as crazy as it sounds, I decided to use the research I’d found to create my own process.


My aim was to create a simple process which got my students to regularly set time aside as a group to learn outside the classroom. Fortunately for me, creating this process wasn’t as intimidating as you’d expect, for two reasons:

  1. The research about how we best learn is easily accessible and a lot of it comes with concrete actions you can take to improve the learning of you or your students. This isn’t hidden knowledge guarded by a select group. Anyone can search for this research and see it for themselves.

  2. My background in Agile, and in particular, Scrum, was beneficial for getting started. I could see the learning research through a different lens and leverage my familiar ground to piece it all together.

The process I ended up creating is called the Curio Cycle, and it combines the best research we have on how our brains consume, store, and use knowledge and skills, with Scrum’s feedback loops, to give the user the freedom to focus their learning on what is relevant to the current challenges they face.


After creating the Curio Cycle, I started writing a guide to go alongside it. I wanted to get to the point where I could hand the whole guide over to my students, and they would be able to set up and run Curio Cycles on their own. As my joy of writing grew, the number of pages ballooned and I realised “Hold on. I think I’m writing a book!”.


After talking to family and friends about my new project, it also became increasingly apparent that the Curio Cycle could help more people than just my students, so it made sense to offer it to anyone trying to learn something new.


That’s why I set up a company, Curio Class, in an effort to change how we all learn in our personal and professional lives. I think one of the most exciting areas to change is workplace learning. Most of you can probably agree workplace learning could be better.


In many cases it boils down to spending a huge amount of money on e-modules that get employees to simply memorise information and pass a test so the company can show compliance. Anyone else skip through these as fast as possible? Or cheat and do it with colleagues just to get the ‘admin’ out of the way? That certainly isn’t going to change the way you work for the better. If this is the only ‘training’ done in workplaces, it’s a pretty sad indictment.


I would love to change the way we all learn in the workplace, to make it more effective, motivating and relevant to the challenges we actually face day-to-day. I really do believe this process achieves that, and I’ve seen the difference this makes to people’s engagement and happiness with their careers.


Creating the Curio Cycle has been the culmination of multiple years of work, and countless hours of study and experimentation. If it helps you to enjoy learning and to keep improving your expertise for the long term, then it will have been more than worth it.


Becky


You can get a copy of the Curio Cycle how-to guide from our store.

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