Learning at Work - 15 April 2008
Companies often get learning confused with listening. They provide lecture-style training sessions which go through one ear and out the other, when the key to learning at work is to trigger some kind of emotion.
Someone can tell you ten times to stay away from a hot stove, but it's not until you accidentally touch a scorching saucepan that you learn to change your behaviour. The emotion: pain.
You can read every self-help book, but it's not until you hear of someone beating the odds to achieve something remarkable, that you learn to set some goals. The emotion: inspiration.
And so it is with learning at work. Here are just a few of the emotions that you can stir up to stimulate your employees' learning:
Pain: Even if you see a mistake coming, let it happen. It might have a short-term negative effect on the business, but it'll have a longer-term positive impact on your employees.
Joy: People learn best when they're having fun. The body is relaxed, the mind is more open, and what you're teaching is easily embraced. Your learners have got to be laughing.
Enthusiasm: Instead of just offering development on job-related technical skills, also provide employees with training that's more relevant to their career objectives and personal interests.
Confidence: Less than 10% of learning comes from training; the rest is from job experiences. Trust your employees with responsibilities that seem beyond their capabilities.
In most workplaces, trainers and managers are preoccupied with the transfer of knowledge, when it's the motivation to embrace the knowledge that makes the biggest difference. And what generates motivation? Emotions.
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