Learning tips on how to best learn from experience

Learning tips: When asked how they best learn, many managers will say they learn best from experience. They will general discuss some particular responsibilities and then they may describe a significant challenge or key event such as completing a critical project or averting a catastrophe . They then usually report a increase in competence and a huge growth in confidence .


Learning may be a natural process almost subconscious experience , we know from neuroscience research that we are literally wired with the capacity to easily make new brain neural connections.


However it is no means certain that managers will learn from experiences.

Learning can be fickle!


Just look around any organisation and you will probably find people who:

  • repeat their mistakes
  • don’t want to learn
  • can be turned off learning easily 
  • prefer to rely on their past experiences .


Clearly learning can be quite an inefficient hit or miss process.


To say learning is a natural process may be true however life also shows us that some people are better learners than others.They find their personal learning process to be quicker, easier and more efficient. They are likely to almost instinctively use soe of the learning tips mentioned here.

More information on learning from experience here

Learn about the use of reflective learning to accelerate your learning

Benefits of learning to learn


  1. Confidence and flexibility  in addressing new challenges
  2. An increase in the capacity to learn
  3. Development of new learning opportunities
  4. An increase in motivation to learn
  5. Helping others to learn better
  6. Less dependant on others
  7. Continuing employment for as long as you want it


Managers are generally motivated to perform effectively in areas they see as core and the reality of their managerial work.


  • Learning to learn is a means to an end
  • Desire to improve competence
  • Improve career prospects
  • Want to add to their achievements
  • Want to have more impact and influence
  • Want to leave a legacy
  • Want to grow others

  So what are some learning tips?

Check out a video here on informal learning

So what do we need to know and do in order to improve our own learning?


I suggest there are two useful basic concepts and learning tips: here.


  1. Learning is a personal experience
  2.  We can consider learning to be a process and like other processes it can also be improved. 
  3. Self awareness is a key to improving your learning


more on leadership characterisitics and learning here

Learning Tip: Learning is a Personal Experience


If you bear with me let me show you what I mean

Most of us have had one or two really meaningful experiences in our careers, times when we felt we took a big step forwards in performance and confidence times when we felt we learnt a great deal .


Think back over your own experiences and try and select 1 or 2 that were particularly important for you.

Answer these 2 questions for yourself

What were the main things you learned?

How did you learn them? 


Now think of other times when you had experiences that were least helpful in helping you learn

Answer these questions for yourself

What might you have learned?

What prevented you from learning?


Learning Tip: Want to stimulate a discussion on learning with your team

Get them to think through the above questions and if comfortable share their thoughts with the rest of the team.  

You never know you might learn something

You are bound to come across people learning different things from similar experiences

A classic example of this is often off the job courses where 1 person may have learnt heaps and someone else on the same course feels they learned very little.


What I am trying to say is that as we vary in many of our behaviours and approaches to issues should we be surprised that we vary in our preferences and approaches to learning.


 We do not all learn in the same way


And yet many of our training and development approaches assume the exact opposite,

Click here for more information on learning styles

Learning tip:We can consider learning to be a process and like other processes it can also be improved. 


So if we treat learning as a process there are certainly basic things we can do to improve our learning effectiveness. For example:

  1. We can plan our learning opportunities and experiences
  2. We can be present and aware when we are having those experiences
  3. We can reflect afterwards and try and make sense of our experiences
  4. We can conscioulsy and deliberately try to do new and different things

 So all of us can of course learn naturally, but for a variety of reasons don’t always.


Self awareness is a key to improving your learning


Learning styes are helpful in educating managers about learning and empowering them to make choices about their own learning


As our learning approaches vary with the individual the key to unlocking your best way of learning comes from your self-awareness of you as an individual.

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