Do we tragically misunderstand learning?

We often believe that learning is about gaining knowledge through study and assessment. If you get high marks you have learned well, low marks and you have not learned much.

This belief is not surprising. It is what is taught and practiced in many families, schools and colleges.   Learning is all about acquiring knowledge we are told!!

It is this unfortunate view of learning is that is churning out unemployable students in droves. This thinking leads teachers and professors to lecture students on (outdated?) knowledge that they could gain far more effectively for the price of an internet subscription.

So what is learning really about? Yes, we certainly doagree knowledge is ONE important component of learning.

Real learning is about applying knowledge in a manner that actually changes behaviour and generates action. It is about overcoming the knowing / doing gap!

What would happen if we embraced this concept of learning? What if the ineffective teaching methods of the past were scrapped? What if we encouraged curiosity, questioning, inquiry, independent thought, experimentation, innovation andlearning through practical experience?  My guess is that there would be a lot more very capable, motivated, confident and happy young people out there.

My challenge to you is simple. Reflect on your concept of learning and ask yourself if it is serving you, and those near and dear to you, well? If not, you probably already know a few things you could do differently – and you will have genuinely learned from this very simple article!!

About the author

Ron McLuckie - Ron is Chairman & Chief Executive of WIAL India which he established in March 2012 and serves on the global board of the World Institute for Action Learning. He is a highly experienced international consultant and Action Learning authority. Ron has held senior executive roles in major organizations, senior lectureships and led a number of international consulting companies. His special interest is in developing skilled leaders who can drive business success and bridge the ‘knowing/doing gap’. His passion is challenging the conventional development approaches that do not work and finding effective ways of developing people and organization capability. He is also a proud granddad of three grandsons.

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