The 5 Universal Verbs of Social Learning

Posted by Jim Klaas on April 25, 2012

I propose 5 universal verbs for social learning. Please consider these and then help me improve the choices.
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About the 1 Minute Learner
Jim Klaas is a learning coach, author, and the founder of DevEd International, a firm specializing in innovative learning solutions and international development. Find out more at

Suppose we could pick only 5 verbs that would universally help us learn socially. What would they be? Let me propose some and you then tell me how they can be improved.

  • Imagine. Instead of telling students what they should learn, help them imagine what they would want to learn. Help them see the cathedral in the rock pile and then let them loose.
  • Connect. What happens if 2 or 3 imaginations really get in sync? People who are really willing to do something about it. Then perhaps we see the truth in Sam Walton’s saying: “Our best ideas come from clerks and stockboys”.
  • Risk. Ideas plus connection must lead to risk. We must try stuff. T.S Elliot said ”Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
  • Reflect. Then we need to think about what we just experienced. By proactive reflection we can avoid the bitterness of which Confucius spoke: By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
  • Celebrate. Celebration makes us like children where we are reminded that our hands are full of games, dreams and fantasies. When we celebrate what was learned it becomes easier to imagine what comes next.

Imagine, Connect, Risk, Reflect, Celebrate. What do you propose if you could pick only 5 universal verbs for learning?


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