Breaking Down Barriers Between Learning and Doing
As humans we understand that we learn skills best by doing, by thinking about what went well and how we could improve, and by trying again, and again, and again. We can take short-cuts to improving our performance by learning what we can before attempting the task. We might read an article, watch some YouTube videos, ask someone’s advice or attend a course online or in person. We can be coached as we undertake the task and talk to someone afterwards who can help us to reflect.
Sports men and women are particularly good at this. They appreciate that there is only so much that can be learnt from the theory alone, the important part is putting it into practice. When it comes to workplace learning however that all goes out of the window. Instead, we are sheep-dipped through a lot of theory, typically with no opportunity to practice and no help in implementing what we learn.
We need to break down the barriers between learning and doing or at least blur the boundaries. So how could you do this?
- Where you do need to provide knowledge and information make it concise and bite-sized.
- Allow people to access the material easily when they are working and when they are mobile, if that would be beneficial.
- Design real-world activities where they put their learning into practice.
- Encourage them to think about how it went and how they might improve the next time.
- Suggest they buddy-up with someone more experienced than them, who can act as a coach.