Our Employees learn in a variety of ways, and over the years may develop certain learning habits which enable them to benefit from certain types of experience more than other types.
Our people is learning in the workplace are both likely to meet a range of different learning opportunities.
Most our employees nowadays will also work to support themselves to some extent while studying and will themselves have a range of work experiences from which they can learn.
some will be mature employees who have already worked for a number of years, some will be employees combining study with a career, and yet others will be on sándwich course degrees where they have the opportunity of gaining work experience in a placement for a period of time. Knowing about your own learning preferences may help you to understand and you may become more efficient in learning from these experiences.
Stage 1: having an experience
Most our employees have plenty of experiences from which they could learn, but age doesn’t necessarily mean that people have learnt more. Some people do not use the experiences that they have. Once way of learning is to let experiences come to you (reactive), and the other is to deliberately seek out new experiences (proactive). Anyone who provides learning development opportunities whether as a specialist or a line manager needs to provide suitable experiences from which people can learn (in the form, for example, of case studies, role plays and other simulations), but learners also need to appreciate the need to be proactive and seek for themselves suitable experiences from which to learn. The use of suitable individuals who are willing to act as mentors, or forming a supportive study group of Friends, can assist in this process by:
- Helping to identify suitable experiences from which to learn
- Reviewing with individuals what they have actually done and helping to draw out what they have learnt
- Encouraging the individual to be proactive and to seek for themselves suitable learning experiences.
Stage 2: Reviewing the experience
If we are to learn from an experience it is important to review what has happened. Unfortunately we are often too busy to do this, and some people never develop the habit of reflection. The employee should be encouraged to:
- Think about what actually happened
- Think of other ways the situation could have been handled
- Make comparisons with what happened in other similar situations
- Read about the subject
- Compare theory and practice
Stage 3: Concluding from the experience
There would be Little point in reviewing the experiences unless we then drew some conclusions from them. This involves scanning the raw material for lessons to be learned and reaching some conclusions. The employee should be asking:
- What have I learnt from this?
- What could I have done differently?
Stage 4: Planning the next stage
Having reached a conclusion, it is important to try to do things better next time. To be able to do this we be able to plan, and this involves translating at least some of the conclusions into a basis for appropriate action next time.
The employee should be encouraged to:
- State what they would actually do next time
- Draw up a plan of action for handling such a situación again
The four stages in the process of learning using experiences are mutually dependent. The whole process is summarised in the learning cycle.