Learning the book club way

By Christopher Stephenson

If you are a member of a book club, you know what it is like to exchange reactions and opinions on the subject matter during discussion after everyone has read the same story. Similarly, before each board meeting, directors could be assigned an article to read or video to watch, and then prepare to discuss how it applies to the credit union. The goal is to promote interaction and the application of new information.

There’s a real difference in effectiveness of absorbing content alone versus as part of a group. Discussion helps you internalize the information, flesh out ideas and check any assumptions you may have made when accessing the information on your own. The same principles apply to board education. When directors read an article or watch a video on a topic pertinent to the board, they can enhance their learning, challenge their own assumptions, and improve the function of the board by discussing the content with their peers.

In an April post, I advocated adding 30 minutes to the beginning of each board meeting to incorporate professional development using the Center for Credit Union Board Excellence (CCUBE), an online resource for director education that includes content designed specifically for improving the board. What makes this resource unique is its thought provoking discussion questions to help get the conversation rolling with the board. Think of it as “book-club-in-a-box”—everything the board needs to broach important topics and dive into meaningful discussion.

An online program coupled with in-person discussion takes individualized learning and converts it to shared, team learning. Having an educational resource and curriculum in place that is affordable, accessible and interactive can be a natural supplement to attendance at live events.

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