Advancing learning has been the name of this blog since I started it over 5 years ago. I am now taking that forward to my business, aptly named AdvanceLearningGroup.com, with a focus on learning strategy, leadership and team development.
But what exactly is learning strategy? Today there are more ways than ever to learn, and the learner has as much responsibility as the trainer/educator/teacher. How do you choose and share the options the available? Where do you go to map out learning paths?
Michael Lessard-Clouston has written, “Within the field of education over the last few decades a gradual but significant shift has taken place, resulting in less emphasis on teaching and greater stress on learners and learning.” Klassen, Lam, et. al. from the City University of Hong Kong recently conducted research into learning. They summarized “The recent constructivist view toward knowledge acquisition places greater emphasis on the role of learners in constructing their own knowledge. Learners have their own systematic way of transforming information into knowledge, and good and poor learners differ in how and how well they do this. In other words, learners employ different learning strategies when they learn.” The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning defined learning strategy as “a person’s approach to learning and using information.” Defining a learning strategy and finding the best way for people to learn is critical if you want learning to last.
We are pummeled with more data and information each and every day than our parents received in a lifetime. In fact IBM has reported that knowledge will soon be doubling every 12 hours! How do we sort it out? What do we choose to absorb of this vast amount of information? What are the different ways we can learn vital new skills and knowledge, and what is the best way to do so?
Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey devised the theory of situational leadership which stated that there is a right leadership style for every person and in each situation.
I profess that there’s also a right way to learn for each person, each organization, and each topic. Have time or is it a critical skill that needs practice, feedback and discussion? Classroom may be best. Is it short bytes of product knowledge in a field environment? Mobile learning may be the way to go. Do you need to onboard new hires remotely? Then a webinar or combination could work.
There are more ways to learn than ever. Choosing the right method, coming up with an overall learning strategy, and implementing it are necessary to ensure that you are considering about the needs of the learner. As Lessard-Clouston said, learners today are more self-directed and motivated than ever before. Helping them make those right choices, and having information in modes that work best, is equally important.
Tools such as the Learning Receptiveness Profiles from Neuro-Link http://www.neuro-link.org/web/brain_profile_assessments.html, the Herrmann Brain Dominance Inventory (HBDI), and other learning assessments help the learner understand the way they learn best. This can help learners choose learning methods that work best for him or her.
For organizations today, it is all about choosing, defining and creating the right learning strategy, and making it available to associates. Three steps to achieve this:
1) Determine what the critical information or skills are needed
2) Map out the various and best options available for learning those skills
3) Create a plan to design, deliver, and communicate those options, helping learners identify which ones are best for them, and measure their success.
Make sure your learning strategy is up to date, and that learning goals are achieved. You’ll be a better learning professional, educator, and leader by doing so.
(Photo of friends learning this summer)