The five core principles of learning
We all know that learning is a continuous process. There is no end for learning. It has no bounds, no gender bias or age restrictions. This is true even when it comes to an Organisation or company. Creating a powerful learning environment means designing learning experiences that teach skills central to business issues, and make people central to an organization’s success. Managers who take on the role of coach and leader can ensure that new skills flourish and continue to address relevant business issues.
Anyone who has mastered a skill can teach it to others, lead them in applying it and be innovative in the way they use it. Learning takes place every day throughout the organization. Organizations and individuals who continually acquire new knowledge and put it into practice differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
There are five core principles of learning which is applicable to organisation also.
- Learning is a transformation that takes place over time
- Learning follows a continuous cycle of action and reflection
- Learning is most effective when it addresses issues relevant to the learner
- Learning is most effective when people learn with others
- Learning occurs best in a challenging and supportive environment
Now, let us analyse each of them in brief:
- Learning is the process by which people change the way they interpret or make sense of their experiences. The learning process occurs in phases over time. People adopt new ideas and use them in a variety of situations. As the learning cycle progresses, they may take on the responsibility of teaching others about the ideas and even improving ideas. People need the support of the organisation that directs their new skills and ideas toward better results, reward their achievements. The manager or the coach or the leader must implement newer technologies in their organisations for learning. Information Technology has gained momentum these days. Internet is a treasure of many new ideas and solutions. Hence, the organisation can take the fullest use of it in creating a good learning atmosphere.
- People learn by doing and then consciously thinking about the process. Actions upon which people reflect, that is, examine and assess, lead to new understanding, which in turn guides future actions. Learning and doing should be totally integrated and seamless, if true retention of information and skills is to occur. Training built on learn-by-doing experiences allows people to practice new activities and behaviours with colleagues and managers who share the same goals and intent. People should be allowed to practice this learning through application early and often in the process. As a result, transfer back to the daily job becomes second nature and learning is absorbed.
- People learn inorder to respond to challenges in their environment. They are motivated by either a personal desire to acquire new knowledge and skills or by a recognition of the consequences of not learning. When learning activities are linked to personal or organizational objectives, learning is accelerated. Research has proven that effective training is built on learn-by-doing techniques and that these “Doing” activities are most effective when relevant to the job. Companies must link lessons learned directly to the job. For ex: reinforcing a class on understanding what customers value becomes much more effective when individuals call actual customers and Ask them what they really value.
- When people learn together together, they share and build on one another’s perceptions. As a result, they are able to hear other interpretations and test their own. In addition, team learning increases the likelihood of cooperation back on the job and that cooperation in turn leads to better results for the organization. Today’s business environment requires teamwork to solve difficult, complex problems. Groups can be used to create a shared sense of urgency and enthusiasm, convey consistent messages to a sizeable audience and promote collaboration. It is proven fact that forward-thinking companies already have moved to create training systems and working environments where new learning is freely shared.
- When an environment is not threatening to status or security, people are more wiling to take risks, explore new ideas and try new actions. Learning results more from closely observing small failures than from celebrating comfortable successes. On an organisational level, support must be in place to coach and facilitate new training, encourage high performance, eliminate unhealthy competition between colleagues, assign relevant projects that build on training, offer constructive criticism and reward results. A good rule of thumb is that the more support a company provides to its training systems, the more challenge it can place before employees.
Thus, training is most effective when it is strategically linked to and integrated with business results, diagnostics and the organization’s environment. Ideally, training systems should be directly linked to individual and organisational business objectives, with results based on clearly defined goals, the success of which is directly proportional to the level of commitment and enthusiasm of both parties. This requires strong leadership and commitment at all levels. To learn effectively means that organisational support is not merely present in the training process but is an integral part of the training process.