Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What Is Synergy?

Synergy, otherwise known as “the third alternative” is based on the idea that a combination of ideas from various individuals can supersede the result that any one person can achieve alone. (Not to say that independent learning does not have value). Given the trend toward teamwork both in the classroom and in the workplace, being open to new ideas and perspectives is a must when it comes to achieving optimal results.

Even if you are working on an independent project, viewing it from a perspective that you have never encountered before will help you think about it in a new way and therefore, broaden the way you think about the assignment or project and hence, your overall result. For example, if you are an English major and your classmate is a biology major, you will both have a point of view that combines a liberal arts focus with a scientific outlook; imagine the possibilities in how you write a joint presentation. Your science-oriented peer may attack the assignment from a more analytical, step-by-step framework to concretely lay out the concepts, whereas a liberal arts person may use lots of creative examples that ignite the imaginative spark in its audience. When seeking the third alternative in a dyadic or group-related project, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Define the problem or opportunity
2. Seek to understand the ideas of your classmates or co-workers
3. Seek to be understood by expressing your opinions and ideas
4. Brainstorm by creating new options and ideas
5. Find the best solution as you combine ideas and perspectives.

As a distance learner, it will benefit you to communicate as much as possible with your online classmates in an effort to view concepts from different perspectives and gain new knowledge that you may not have otherwise acquired had you not tapped into the minds of your peers. When it comes time to write that report or study for your next exam, you will have many perspectives in mind from which to think about the concepts and therefore, create an elaborate, comprehensive result that you may not have achieved had you not examined these other points of view.

For more information on this topic, visit this link.

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