Teaching Others: The Ultimate Learning Hack

The best way by far to learn is to teach others. This statement has been echoed by many educational experts and researchers over the years, yet it is still not implemented in many teaching and training situations. It is a well-known fact that teaching is a powerful tool for learning, but why is it not used more often?

One of the reasons for this is that traditional teaching methods have been based on a one-way flow of information. The teacher imparts knowledge to the student, who is expected to absorb it and regurgitate it in exams. This approach may work for some subjects, but it is not effective for all.

To truly understand a subject, one needs to engage with it in a more active and interactive way. By teaching others, we are invited to break down complex concepts into simpler parts, and explain them in a way that others can understand. This not only helps to reinforce one’s own understanding of the topic but also helps to identify areas where one may have gaps in one’s knowledge.

Another benefit of teaching others is that it helps to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. When teaching others, one needs to be able to anticipate the questions that may arise, and be able to come up with solutions on the spot. This helps to develop a more holistic understanding of the subject, and also helps to develop transferable skills.

So why are so few teaching and training situations based on this principle? One reason is that it can be challenging to implement in practice. It requires a shift in mindset from the traditional teacher-led approach to a more collaborative approach where the emphasis is on active learning and student engagement.

Another reason is that there may be resistance from students and teachers who are used to the traditional approach. It can be daunting to take on the role of a teacher, and some students may feel uncomfortable with the idea of peer-to-peer teaching (it’s hard work!).

Despite these challenges, there are many examples of successful teaching and training situations that are based on the principle of peer-to-peer teaching. From peer tutoring in schools to mentorship programmes in the workplace, these approaches have been shown to be effective in promoting learning and development.

In conclusion, the best way by far to learn is to teach others. By engaging in active learning and peer-to-peer teaching, we can develop a deeper understanding of a subject, and also develop transferable skills that can be applied in a range of different contexts. While there may be challenges to implementing this approach, the benefits are clear, and we might choose to look for ways to integrate it into our teaching and training programmes.


Who’s got your back when it comes to remaining relevant in a fast-changing skills market? Who can you rely on to point out new skills that will become vogue in one, five, ten years’ time?

Given the time it takes to develop such skills to the point where they become useful to clients and employers, when do you start ramping up new skills in anticipation of emergent demand for them?

Especially when some new skills area suggests a sea-change from your existing skill set and comfort zone?

Or maybe you’re just accepting of increasing irrelevancy and declining rates of pay?

Highlight Problems, Avoid Solutions

It’s wayyy easier to provide solutions than to help folks find their own solutions. What are the consequences of this observation?

  • For consultants, trainers, pseudo-coaches and others whose income depends on selling “solutions”?
  • For folks seeking long-term, permanent solutions to their problems?
  • For folks who choose to hire consultants or other experts to solve their problems for them?
  • For folks habituated to delegating the finding of solutions to their problems to others?

Voltaire asks us a rhetorical question:

“Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?”

~ Voltaire

I’ll not be offering any solutions to this conundrum. I am available help you along the path of finding your own.Do get in touch!

#IANAC (I am not a consultant).

– Bob

Further Reading

Rother, M. (2010). Toyota Kata: Managing People For Continuous Improvement And Superior Results. Mcgraw-Hill.
Marshall, R.W. (2021). Memeology: Surfacing And Reflecting On The Organisation’s Collective Assumptions And Beliefs. [online] Falling Blossoms (LeanPub). Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun 2022].

%d bloggers like this: