Near Peer Learning and Capture Your Flag

I'm partnering with a company called Capture Your Flag to develop some new online and face to face workshops.  This is a write-up to help explain the value of Capture Your Flag's library of interviews, and I thought it would be good to put this here:



When I have worked with teams throughout my career, they have asked me for my experience on certain topics – managing politics in a large firm, balancing work and family, dealing with poor leadership from management – and I have had to say “I didn’t have that experience.”  My career path was different than many of my participants.  I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost all of my career, and in training and development since I was a student.  This conversation left my participants wanting and me wondering what more I could do. 

Now I have an answer to those questions, thanks to Capture Your Flag.  Capture Your Flag is a repository of longitudinal interviews from managers and executives at various stages in their career.  It contains year-after-year interviews from leaders in all types of organizations at various stages in their career from first time manager to CEO.  So when I receive a question about a particular experience I don’t have, I can refer my participant to a Capture Your Flag video.

Why do the videos help?  Because participants see people like themselves struggling with the same challenges they struggle with.  More than that, it takes advantage of a phenomenon called Near Peer Learning.  In studying how learning happens in multiple contexts, Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger discovered that most learning occurs not from an expert, but from someone who is a little more experienced than,  and slightly farther down the career path than you.  Part of this is accessibility.   We can access people who are close to us in development – we are more likely to be doing similar work and to be working together.  But another part of the draw of near peer learning is that the expert, executive or exemplar may have made the same decisions you are contemplating, but the context was very different due to the time that has passed since they made those decisions. 

Capture Your Flag provides access to a great group of Near Peer Exemplars.  A learner trying to find advice and experience can look for people in their field, at their stage in career, close to their age, with similar family demands.  And because Capture Your Flag is longitudinal, they can not only see that the NPE is struggling with something similar to themselves, but they can see what choices were made and the consequences of those choices.