Principles of learning

Let’s look at some of the principles of learning that particularly apply to workers and then examine their influence on adult learning.

 

Our workplaces are potentially wonderful learning environments and on occasion they are in fact researchers have estimated that our work environment is responsible for about 75% of our total learning.  

But we also know the reverse is often true and that through a combination of factors in significant number of organisations learning is not prioritised, learning opportunities are missed, people feel they are too busy to focus on their own learning, cultures are change adverse and change resistant. After all learning is often not considered core or the “main job” for managers, it is more of a “nice to have” at best or at worse another employee cost to be managed.

 

To get us started we will look at these 3 things:


·         What factors influence learning

·         Main blockages to learning in organisations

·         Ideas on effective learning behaviours.

 

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Use of Educational Toys in Promoting Learning

Before we consider workplace learning it is worth noting that our earliest learning experiences have a profound impact on our learning as adults. There is growing evidence that many of the "mind maps" that lead to a greater learning flexibility and ability to take on new ideas are indeed formulated and nourished in early childhood. We all start with the same number of brain cells, but even by the age of 3 there are measurable and significant differences in the number and density of connections between those brain cells.

We can now see that a rich early environment complete with lots of social interaction and if possible with access to a wide range of educational toys is probably the best way we can encourage and foster learning in our children whilst building our capability to keep on learning as future adults. This has to make a lot of sense in such a volatile and dynamically changing world.

More information on learning theory here

More information on reflective learning here

3 learning principles influencing workplace learning     

  • Emotional impact of past learning can be rewarding or de-motivating
  • Most managers’ learning takes place in the “on the job” environment
  • Managers differ in their preferred methods of learning Like a lot of things for effective learning you need both the WILL and the SKILL.


    The table summarises the influence of these principles.

     

    Job environment

     

    Job content

    Boss

    Colleagues

    Subordinates

     

    Learning processes

     

    Appropriate method

    Teacher facilitator /coach

    Range of opportunities

     

    Individual approaches to learning

     

    Past experiences

    Rewards or punishments for learning

    Personal learning style preferences

    Skills for learning

    Organisational environment

     

    Culture and climate

    Organisational performance

     

     

     


    By understanding how the principles of learning act together to support or restrict adult learning you can plan what actions to take to suit your specific circumstances


    Individual Task

  • Review you own circumstances
  • Which things are influencing your own learning?
  • Which of these principles of learning are most important for you?

    more on workplace learning and the learning organisation

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    Blockages to Adult Learning

     

    Personality can make some very eager to learn.

    Just as some organisations are uncaring and unsupportive of learning, some managers are held back in their response to learning opportunities or even the recognition of those opportunities:

     

    • “I can’t see how training could improve that skill”
    • “If I take up this opportunity will it be risky will it use my past experience”
    • “I’m too busy doing the job to think about learning”

     

    Following list of 9 blockages to learning based on work done by Temple and Boydell shows what holds some people back.

     

    1. Perceptual- can’t see a problem,
    2. Cultural- organisation doesn’t su[port learning
    3. Emotional: fear or insecurity
    4. Motivational: unwillingness to take risks
    5. Cognitive Intellectual previous learning experience, limited learning style, poor learning skills
    6. Expressive: Poor communication skills ‘
    7. Situational lack of opportunities
    8. Physical time and place
    9. Specific environment Boss/colleagues unsupportive

     

    Individual task

  • Consider the list
  • What might have restricted your learning in the past?
  • What is holding you back right now?

    Use of Educational Toys in Promoting Learning

    There is growing evidence that many of the "mind maps" that lead to a greater learning flexibility and ability to take on new ideas are indeed formulated and nourished in early choldhood. We all start with the same number of brain cells but even by the age of 3 there are measurable and significant dufferences in the number and density of connections between those brain cells.

    We can now see that a rich early environment complete with lots of social interaction and if possible with access to a wide range of educational toys is probably the best way we can encourage and foster learning in our children whilst building our capability to keep on learning as future adults. This has to make a lot of sense in such a volatile and dynamically changing world.

    More on principles of learning here



    Skills of Adult Learning

    Let’s look at this in 2 ways

  • Effective learning skills
  • Effective learning behaviours

    Learning skills

    Listening at an active or deeper level

    Reflection on actions and experiences

    Taking risks, trying to do some different things

    Sharing thoughts and insights in order to deepen understanding

    Accepting help and being open to other ideas and ways of doing things

    Monitoring achievement and progress against intentions and a plan

     

     

    Effective learning behaviour

     

    Set standards of performance: know what you need to do well

    Review your achievements against those expectations

    Identify what you want and need to learn

    Understand the learning principles of adult learning

    Identify those opportunities

    Analyse influences and blockages and learning styles

    Develop a personal learning plan

    More information on learning styles here

    More on reflective learning here
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