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  • Writer's pictureKaty Craig

The Four Stages Framework Part 2: Learner Safety

As a professional, it’s helpful to understand the importance of learner safety when working with teams. Learner safety is an integral part of creating a safe and supportive learning environment for all. It is essential to ensure that learners feel safe in their teams so that they can learn effectively without feeling threatened or intimidated by other team members.

Learner safety helps create psychological safety. Psychological safety refers to the sense of security people have when engaging with their teammates; this includes feeling comfortable expressing opinions or ideas without fear or judgment from peers, supervisors, or customers. When people feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to take risks and explore new concepts which leads them towards greater creativity and success as opposed to being fearful about trying something new for fear of ridicule.

Leaders should strive to build a culture where teams understand that mistakes are allowed while maintaining respect among each other at all times. This will not only help foster healthy relationships between experts and novices but also encourages collaboration among teammates which further promotes psychological well being in everyone.

All these measures taken together will ultimately lead us closer towards achieving our goal - providing every team member learning environments free from threats. Try some of the following practices to encourage, model, and foster learner safety on your teams.

How to foster Learner Safety:

  1. Unite your team with learning. Don’t make it a competition but an individual process of encouraging one another to learn.

  2. Adopt a student mindset. We are always learning and should approach it with humility and consistency. Model the behavior.

  3. Help people one on one in their space. Some folks don’t learn publicly so meet them where they are.

  4. Share what you are learning. Again, model the behavior.

  5. Share past mistakes. Learn from them, laugh about (not at) them, but don’t hide them. Show that mistakes can be valuable learning opportunities.

  6. Share your unlearning and learning methods. Unlearning an old habit is harder than learning a new one.

  7. Rotate mentoring assignments or institute a monthly rotation where folks can speak with others outside their team. Different perspectives, skills, knowledge, and experience provides new lessons and learning.

  8. Celebrate failures as opportunities to learn. A failure is evidence that someone is trying to learn. Destigmatize failure to create a culture of safety. Failures will happen if you’re doing things correctly.

  9. Admit your own ignorance and say “I don’t know.” Demonstrate how safe it is to not know everything and how important it is to go beyond our own knowledge.

  10. Ask for feedback. Give feedback. Feedback is a gift. Be sure to ask for it when you’re in need.



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