For many people, when you ask them about their recollection of learning, it is rarely a positive experience. At best we may remember a subject that we loved and our enjoyment of that subject enriched our life.
Traditional learning is a blueprint that we are all familiar with, by association. Such as learning ‘about’ a subject at school, at university or in training programs often conjures up images of books and exams and a sense of labor.
For those who get the chance to research a subject and be in the ‘live’ end of learning, there is a different experience. But just absorbing what others have ‘arrived at’ is to experience someone else’s journey – and not one’s own.
Learning is of major importance in our evolution, as we are essentially ‘built to learn’ and we are inherently motivated to learn. We are equipped with a broad range of senses and faculties to aid us in this endeavor. In considering the importance of learning in our life –
- Everything that you know you have learned
- Everything that you can do you have learned
- Everything that you believe, your attitudes, your standards, your values – you have learned
- Your learning has lead to being largely responsible for who and what you are today.
Learning is the process you use in order to acquire additional or new knowledge and to increase your knowledge base about skills, capabilities, beliefs and attitudes. You can’t undertake additional development without first acquiring the relevant ways and means of the associated skills, beliefs or attitudes.
However, although learning itself from experience is an instinctive ‘given’, the skill of ‘best quality learning’ is not a ‘given’, it has to learned and developed.
For instance –
- Have you ever had instruction in the best ways and means and methods of learning, and been provided with a chance for consciously developing ‘best quality learning’ as a capability in yourself?
- Have you ever been educated in how to learn and extract the wisdom from each and every opportunity and experience available?
- Do you know what is your personal ‘default’ learning type and preferred learning style is? And whether such habits are beneficial to or whether detractive from being a highly effective learner?
Top two tips to actively learn from experience and for consciously learning how to become a more effective learner –
- Overcome the obstacle of complacency – habits can be inhibitors to new learning, creating learning ‘blind-spots’ and complacency. To become a more effective learner, consciously decide that learning is the way forward and then consciously propel yourself to progress as a self-directed learner in a planned and urgent fashion. This self-decision will lead to maximising every learning opportunity and will overcome the hazard of staying within what has worked in the past.
- Exploit experiences as opportunities to learn – everything that happens can be used as an opportunity to learn. To become an effective ‘experiential’ learner; consciously stop after an experience and ask the question “what can I learn from this experience?” Then in pausing; firstly recall the experience, then reflect upon and analyse the experience to conclude one or two learning points that are self-improvements. Then try-out your new learned practise to determine how it actually works. In time and with practise, by pausing to learn “what can I learn from this experience”, you will be consciously exploiting many day-to-day experiences to gather wisdom rather than just focusing upon glaring mistakes that scream to be learned from. Plus you will be transforming unpromising situations (like waiting in traffic jams, exercising and other examples of ‘dead time’) into opportunities to learn.
7th June 2015