Five Things I’ve Learned about PD from the Google Lunch and Learn Series

I  “led” my first campus Google Lunch and Learn session back in the fall of 2016. I put led in quotes because I didn’t do much leading. It was a group who came into the sessions with questions and ideas of what to explore and share. I came to realize that after providing the time and place, and maybe a gentle nudge, the best thing I could do was get out of the way.

lunch and learn 1

As I enter the fourth semester of these lunch and learns, this is what the group has taught me about professional development:

  • Choose topics that engage people and they will come, but you have to show there is a value to this time.
    If you can demonstrate the benefit of the time in professional development, it will  exceed the cost of giving up an hour of their week; they’ll show up and keep showing up. The lunch and learns don’t even have lunch (most of the time) they’re just at noon--it’s the time together that has to be the draw.

  • It’s okay to admit you don’t know everything and learn with people.
    I feel like I know a lot about Google and G Suite, but I don’t know everything and Google is constantly changing. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know, but does anyone else have an idea?” We’re all learning as we go.

  • Embrace a flexible agenda (or no agenda) and let people talk about what they need.
    Participants don’t know what they don’t know. If they knew what they needed, they’d Google it. Often the most useful ideas will come from the conversations and the sharing from others. It doesn’t always work, but it seems some of the best moments have happened organically. It’s okay not to plan for the entire time.

  • A diverse group is ideal.
    If you have faculty all from the same college or just all faculty you might be missing out. A mix of faculty and staff from various departments on campus seems to yield better results. Get various people around others, and there are some opportunities for additional collaborations.

  • No “one-and-done’s.”
    Asking participants to commit to three or four meetings during the semester seems to be about right. As a participant, if you can’t commit to that, I’m not sure you’re going to get much out of this. It takes a couple of sessions to get comfortable sharing, but then it seems so much more impactful than the stand-alone, one-hour workshops I used to lead.

lunch and learn 3


lunch and learn 2
So my thanks to all those in the group from then until now who have learned with me and have made these sessions well-worth showing up for every time we’ve met.

Google Lunch and Learn
Published: Apr 30, 2018 11:24am