South Africa

Top trends driving professional learning

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National Manager Learning Design
PMI
4 mins

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

As a learner you are obviously looking for ways to expand your knowledge and develop your capabilities, but are you locked into outdated and restrictive ways of learning? Do you need to step out of your comfort zone, find new ways to learn, and embrace new models or tools of learning?

Why, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together?” Because I believe that you will learn more when you learn with, and from, others.

Trend and innovation strategist and author, John Sanei writes, “Somehow we’ve managed to pop onto the planet at the exact moment when the collective wisdom of generations of geniuses has given us access to technology and innovation that blurs the borders between what we can imagine and what we can create.”

I love this idea because it is true; there is so much opportunity for the learner seeking new knowledge or wanting to develop new skills or striving to elevate current skill sets.

Want to be a better learner? You can be, by keeping up to speed with learning trends and adopting new learning strategies.

Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to read what I have highlighted as key trends that leading minds are telling us are transformational.

Collaborative learning

Collaborative learning is based on groups of individuals working together to solve problems, complete tasks, or learn new concepts. The approach enhances the learning experience because it actively engages learners to process and use information and concepts, instead of just memorising facts and figures. It is believed that collaborative learning can increase learning by 40% to 50%. Conversely, the absence of active learning can hamper your chances of academic success. For more about this, look up ‘Ebbinghouse Forgetting Curve’ on the internet.

The beauty of collaborative learning is that everyone in the group will have a position that they will need to defend and articulate, ideas are reframed in the room, and various viewpoints based on different experiences are raised and addressed. Driven by interaction, the process of learning together enhances retention and can lead to higher academic achievement. Collaboration supports inclusion and diversity; the more diverse the group, the more successful the learning tends to be because multiple viewpoints must be considered.

And collaborative learning also fosters leadership skills. Groups must organise themselves, assign tasks to themselves, and both teach and learn from each other. In this way, learning becomes less reliant on an assigned ‘teacher’ and more reliant on self-management and good social conscience.

Peer-to-peer learning

Often someone from your peer group will be better at explaining an idea than a facilitator can. Why is this? They just have the capacity to ‘speak the same language’ because of shared experiences.

Similar to collaborative learning, peer-to-peer learning is based on the idea that it is everyone’s duty within an organisation to share their skills, knowledge and expertise. Peer-to-peer learning is simply a formalised way of learning based on what we have all always done – share our ideas and insights. By connecting more with your colleagues, you gain a broader perspective on different career paths and business units, and you become more agile because you are forced to look at things through different lenses, a ‘power skill’ in the workplace of the future.

Peer-to-peer learning inspires honesty and creativity, generates ideas, and promotes rich and rapid feedback that helps you to learn quicker and discover great solutions faster.

Adaptive learning

Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by the ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Modern-day learning has taken a page from Einstein’s book. More customised learning experiences are being created to address the fact that people learn in different ways and that each individual has their own unique needs. Adaptive learning experiences can be done at an individual or small team level, and they are based on ‘adaptivity factors’, which include performance, the current level of knowledge, misconceptions, content preferences, demographics, or other data sources.

Adaptive learning is the opposite of a one-size-fits-all learning experience because it can give you what you need to learn when you need to learn it and do this in ways that you want to learn. For example, rather than having to work through a learning programme from start to finish, you can decide where to start and what you still need to learn.

Imagine that you can learn in a way that has been designed to meet your very own needs, taking into account your unique strengths and weaknesses and your preferred methods of engagement.

That is what is meant by ‘adaptive’. That’s learning that is personal, meaningful and transformative!

Self-managed learning

Yes, people taking learning into their own hands is a growing trend. There are many reasons for this. Post-pandemic, many people are changing careers and looking to gain new skills. Others want to learn to be more agile and adaptable, recognising that massive change sometimes happens instantly. Still, others are preparing themselves for the big shifts that the digital age is already bringing.

There are many learning pathways open to you. From actively researching topics online or watching YouTube videos and TED Talks to enrolling in free online courses and webinars. Opportunity is everywhere, many of them organic or spontaneous, involving learning from peers, colleagues, bosses, and mentors.

As a skill, ‘learnability’ is in high demand. Employers increasingly value the demonstrated desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt one’s skill set. I would suggest to you that what you know right now is less relevant than what you can learn because employers want people who are willing and capable of learning and adapting quickly. And they don’t want you to wait for them to initiate and organise your learning. They want you to be proactive.

Own your own learning process, don’t wait to be told what to learn, set aside the necessary time to learn, even if it is in small manageable ‘chunks’, and be sure to find learning opportunities every day.

What are you waiting for? Find a course that interests you and enrol already!

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National Manager Learning Design
PMI

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