Learning is the process of taking on new knowledge, skills and behaviors. There are some very good methods for learning in the workplace and there are some theories that support the best practices for learning. While learning is the foundation for every successful outcome with a job role, most companies do not value it nor do they support it rigorously.
Many organizations can be short sighted and small minded about how they view learning. Learning may be seen as a non-value added activity or even worse as a expense that can easily be cut when looking for ways to trim or reduce expenses. Most organizations do not have a learning advocate in a decision making position that can influence the training and development agenda.
Unfortunately, when organizations decide not to invest time and resources into learning, they are jeopardizing their potential for achieving successful outcomes. Individuals are not likely to be as successful without training as they would be with the learning opportunities.
New knowledge supports individuals by giving them the opportunity to participate in problem solving sessions or to contribute to a project. At the most basic level, learning more knowledge gives them the information they need to be successful with their jobs and careers. Learning is something that supports individuals as they take on new roles and progress in an organization. Without the learning foundation, the costs incurred may be massive
Learning is key for anyone to be successful in their role in an organization; however, it is far more likely that a manager will ‘put’ someone in a new role and expect them to learn on the job. While learning on the job may work for some of the learning process; it is not the preferred method for taking on new knowledge, skills, and behaviors. There is an order and methodology to learning and it must be followed in order to be successful for the individual and the organization.
Adults learn best with three approaches: seeing it, hearing it and doing it. These are simplified to make the point that learning is not complicated nor is it intimidating. People learn when they see something new-reading about it or watching a demonstration are both ways to learn by seeing.
Most people learn when someone takes the time to tell them how things are done or shares with them the process in a dialogue. Listening is a powerful way for some people to learn and must not be overlooked. Foreign languages can be learned just by immersing in a place where that language is spoken exclusively.
Many individuals learn best when we get our hands on things. Learning by doing is not limited to building models or getting their hands dirty. While these are great ways of learning by doing, people can also learn by taking notes or being involved in role plays.
It is important to understand that leaders and other individuals in organizations have a drive for learning that can be met by including learning as a priority or even better as a core value. When learning is one of the foundations for an organization, it is more likely to achieve greater successful outcomes. The same can be said for leaders who are life long learners who want to continue talking on new knowledge, skills and behaviors to support their growth, development and successful achievement of career goals.