Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What did You Learn about Learning in 2007?

This is December’s “Big Question” from ASTD’s Learning Circuit’s blog, http://learningcircuits.blogspot.com/. Check out this blog for other bloggers contributions to the same question, and please leave your answer to the question as a comment on this post.

My 2007 learnings about learning:

Real learning in practice may look very different than what we learn in graduate school and read about in our trade. Our challenge as learning professionals is to bridge the gap between what we know should work and how things really work.

Not so much a new learning, but a heightened awareness: people sure do buy in to what they create. The other person’s idea may not be as “good” as yours, but if it’s their idea, they are more likely to implement it. Same concept applies to learning and coaching. Facilitating self-discovery is often more effective than teaching or advising.

A big “aha” for me was how many managers (and learners) still see development activities as something completely separate from the most important work they need to do. This creates a mindset that says “as soon as things settle down, I can devote some time to my own development or the development of my team”. (See “Leadership Development is a Sunk Cost” for more on this topic). Given that one of the most significant development experiences for leaders is challenging assignments, we need to show them how to turn these assignments into learning opportunities.

Finally, I learned about the potential of blogging as a new way to learn and network.

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