Some find learning and recalling what they learnt challenging, even within a short timeline. Others struggle with understanding, not because the content is technical but because it is new. When an idea appears to be stuck in memory, it is sometimes challenging to recall and apply what was learnt later. Most often, the challenge results from an ineffective approach to learning.
Understanding Effective Learning and its Benefits
Effective learning is not about memorising and reciting on a test; it doesn’t only exist in a formal educational setting and isn’t simply the passive intake of information acquisition through sitting and listening or reading. Rather, it’s an active, experiential process involving all senses resulting in genuine knowledge and understanding.
Sparks innovation – When you learn effectively, you construct new mental models, patterns, and connections between systems and processes. You gain insights into how things work and how they fit together. You can then apply these new connections to create new ways of building or identifying new things. That’s innovation. Consider the case of Louis Pasteur and the process of pasteurisation. Initially, he was asked to find out why beer and wine went sour. He figured out that microbes, such as bacteria and mould, were responsible. He discovered that heating these beverages killed those microbes, allowing them to last longer and making them safer to drink. He applied this process, now known as pasteurisation, to milk. At the time, tuberculosis was commonly carried by cow’s milk and was a major public health issue. Pasteur’s cross-referencing led to an innovation that has saved millions of lives.
Increases adaptability – Adapting quickly to changing circumstances allows you to adjust quickly to new business priorities and take advantage of new opportunities. Through cross-referencing, effective learning allows you to connect the dots between existing knowledge and new knowledge, enabling you to draw conclusions and rapidly adjust to new circumstances. Being able to adapt to new situations comfortably makes you better able to manage uncertainty. With adaptability, new challenges, which might otherwise be intimidating, can be taken on confidently.
Aid Professional Growth – Effective learning helps you to grow professionally, stay relevant, and remain a valued contributor in the workplace. The modern workplace is changing like never before. If you can’t change with it, you’ll get left behind. The willingness and ability to adapt to new technologies and take on new responsibilities and challenges are valuable commodities. Professional success requires an ever-expanding knowledge base. And the ability to apply that knowledge to finding effective solutions to novel problems. These could be anything from implementing new digital solutions to fundamentally overhauling your approach to teamwork. How well you approach and handle change will largely determine whether you remain relevant in the workplace. Effective learning creates a responsive, well-rounded employee of the future.
Strategies for Improving Effective Learning
Have an inquisitive mindset: Effective learning begins with curiosity. Instead of accepting things as they are, inquisitive people want to know why. They ask questions. Not satisfied by just knowing what happened, but curious as to why it happened. Being inquisitive means actively seeking to understand what you observe or learn. It means being open to learning. And, if necessary, to unlearn and relearn, refusing to take things as given and instead asking questions.
Involve all your senses: Using multiple senses makes learning more interesting and effective. Think of watching an online tutorial with captions. It involves the use of your auditory sense. While watching, you also follow along, reading the captioned text. That’s using your visual, auditory, and verbal senses. The more senses you involve, the more you absorb the information embedded in your mind. According to neuroscience research, the more brain regions store data about a subject, the more interconnection there is.
Teach someone Else: Teaching is one of the surest routes to effective learning. It’s a great way to consolidate new information within your brain. Fully absorb and integrate what you’ve learned. Imagine you’ve just listened to a presentation on a topic you’re interested in learning. How would you explain what you’ve learned to a friend or colleague? When you transfer knowledge on something you’ve learned, you get a firmer grip and a deeper understanding of newly acquired knowledge.
Be Resourceful – In effective learning, resourcefulness means seeking solutions to problems. The knowledge gained from this effort is more effective than asking someone else for the answer. Resourcefulness is a mindset; no matter how great the problem is, you know there’s always a solution. It’s especially valuable when facing complex challenges. It makes you dogged, determined, and inventive. It helps you overcome obstacles and forge ahead and is a hallmark of being an effective learner.
In a fast-paced world where time is key, we must learn efficiently while taking advantage of available resources to improve our competencies.
At pcl., we offer and deploy robust resources that not only aid the learning process but also enable the achievement of continuous learning. You can contact our Learning team at email@example.com to review our robust list of solutions that facilitate effective learning for both individuals and organisations.