People have been studying the science of learning for thousands of years – dating all the way back to the time of Plato and Socrates in Ancient Greece. Educators seek to improve the way they teach students, parents look for ways to improve the way their children learn, and organizations strive to improve the development they offer to their personnel.
At Flannery Sales Systems, we are also staying on top of the latest in learning development, as we seek to make a lasting impact for our clients. The science of learning is constantly evolving, and we continue to adapt our curriculum to leverage the latest in learning advancements.
Here are some learning practices that we employ daily in our work with our clients:
- Self-discovery. People are most convinced by ideas that they themselves conceive; so don’t resort to a lecture style classroom if you can help it. Provide small group labs and workshops where students can be an active part of the learning process.
- The experience matters. People learn best when they are in an engaging environment with a trusted instructor. They must be kept interested and entertained. Stories work well. Humor doesn’t hurt either.
- Tailor, tailor, and tailor. Before you instruct a group, take some time to understand your audience. What is their age, gender, and education level? Where are they from? What are their interests?
- Edu-tainment. Edu what? Edu-tainment is the idea of mixing education with entertainment for more effective learning. This is an increasing trend with the millennials, who have been raised to believe that learning should be fun.
- Reinforce. Statistics vary on the number of times an idea needs to be presented before it can be ingrained. But what remains consistent is the theory that repetition matters. And in today’s always-on, hyper-connected world, the amount of times you need to present an idea for it to have an impact is only getting bigger.
- Practice. Practice makes perfect. Well, maybe not perfect, but certainly better. Practice is key to successful learning, as people need the opportunity to “try on” what they have learned in order to fully master it.
- Promote a “growth mindset”. This has been a hotly researched topic lately, led by Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck with the publication of her 2006 book entitled “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Having a growth mindset means that you believe that it is hard work more than innate ability that drives advancement. Students that come in with a growth mindset tend to progress farther as they actively strive to learn and improve.
- Technology. It goes without saying that advancements in technology have revolutionized the way we learn. Technology can be used to reinforce a classroom-style learning environment, or provide “distance learning” allowing people to learn anywhere, anytime from the convenience of their laptop, iPad or any connected device.
What advancements in learning will we see in the coming years? While we don’t know for certain, we can be sure that they will include ideas new and old, and leverage technology and edu-tainment to reinvent the way people develop and grow.