THE LEARNING CONTINUUM

LEARNING: A LEARNABLE LIFE SKILL

 Learning is inevitable and an unavoidable constant in every aspect of our everyday lives. It is a conscious activity throughout our schooldays, in formal education and in training but it also lives in our subconscious, in our thinking and in our reflection, and even in our imagination. Learning is innate. It is responsive to the dynamics of our personal circumstances and to our immediate environment.

So, why do we need to ‘learn to learn’ and why should it become an integral part of the curriculum, whether in formal education or in staff development in an informed workplace? In short, because an understanding of how we learn and how our Learning Power dictates the habits and behaviors we exhibit when coping with the challenges of change, is fundamental to the quality of our contribution to life at work and at home, and to the well-being of society as a whole.

The accelerating pace of change across every aspect of society makes it necessary for all of us to hone our ‘learning’ skills, to constantly acquire new knowledge and develop and adopt new ways of working. In this climate of perpetual change, how we learn has an abiding influence as we grow older. Employers, therefore, have a critical responsibility to use their organizational frameworks to equip their staff for the demands that rapidly changing labor and commercial markets will throw at them. It is in every employer’s interests to ensure that staff:

  • have skills in ‘learning how to learn’;
  • accept learning as a continuous process which will extend throughout life;
  • recognize that learning takes place in a wide variety of different situations and contexts;
  • see their organizational employer as managed to encourage and reward learning.

FORMAL LEARNING IN SCHOOL

 

STAFF DEVELOPMENT IN A ‘LEARNING’ SCHOOL

MOVING ON TO SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING​

TRANSITIONING TO SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING

Similarly, if we find ourselves with more responsibility for our learning than we are used to, we may become anxious and withdrawn.

The transition to self-direction begins at school and those who have not learned about themselves as learners and, thereby, how to manage their learning struggle when they reach college and university and enter employment.

THE ADULT LEARNER

With time being our most precious commodity, we are most likely to value, and profit from, learning activities that make a practical contribution to our lives. ‘The moment of greatest learning for any of us is when we find ourselves responsible for addressing a problem that we care desperately to resolve’.

Nonetheless, it is our journey through life that usually reveals our learning needs … entering employment, becoming a parent, leaving parenthood to a succeeding generation or exchanging independence for dependence as our well-being dictates.

Learning to Learn’ … when it matters most

THE TECHNIQUES OF PERSONAL ENQUIRY

TECHNIQUES OF PERSONAL ENQUIRY

LEARNING AND THE WORKPLACE

Research suggests that adults are more receptive to learning following major changes in their lives. However, in today’s society we are all being swept along by a tsunami of change and tend to view life as, ‘an ever increasing past, a fleeting pressured present and an infinite future’.

With time being our most precious commodity, we are most likely to value, and profit from, learning activities that make a practical contribution to our lives. ‘The moment of greatest learning for any of us is when we find ourselves responsible for addressing a problem that we care desperately to resolve’.

Nonetheless, it is our journey through life that usually reveals our learning needs … entering employment, becoming a parent, leaving parenthood to a succeeding generation or exchanging independence for dependence as our well-being dictates.

Employee development and employer expectation 

RECOGNIZING THE SELF-DIRECTED LEARNER

THE SELF-DIRECTED LEARNER

Personal autonomy as a learner is a precious and exemplary attribute because it brings with it the confidence to challenge received wisdom, to learn from mistakes and to question decisions that would appear to lack foundation.

The fully autonomous self-directed learner is a risktaker, unafraid of offering creative, sometimes unpopular, solutions to perennial problems and knowing when to persist and when to seek an alternative way forward. They are more likely to be team leaders than team players.

The confident self-directed learner also tends to be a self-starter, not only as a learner but also as entrepreneur, leader, writer or artist. They choose to be self-employed and to rely on their own abilities as a means of creating a livelihood.

THE FAMILY AS LEARNERS

Learning for every young person begins in the home with family. Parents and siblings as well as members of the wider family do much more than keep us safe, they are our first teachers and set standards that remain with us for the rest of our lives.

However, learning plays a much bigger part in the way in which our families function and in the development and evolution of relationships as the roles and responsibilities of each generation change. Whilst new parents learn how to manage the home with the demands of employment, their parents are often called upon to compromise a new-found independence by sharing parental duties.

Whether consciously or sub-consciously, learning is a family constant and the manner in which it plays out, influenced directly by the way in which each family member experienced learning as part of their formal schooling.

The family as teachers
and learners

Preparing the Young Learner
for Life

LEARNING AND CITIZENSHIP

Change is a fact of 21st Century life, be that the political implications of globalism and a world increasingly accessible to all of us as it shrinks through the speed and reducing cost of travel; economies no longer self-sufficient and interdependent with the exchange of food, raw materials and manufactured good; the social challenges with the random sharing of our personal data, access to massive libraries of knowledge available to everyone; and the evolution of intrusive technologies that know no boundaries or frontiers.

The speed of change is such that learning to learn and an understanding of the dimensions, habits and behaviors associated with the management of personal Learning Power have never been more pertinent.

Our schools must take responsibility for introducing Learning Power to the citizens of tomorrow in order to optimize their potential contributions to society.

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significantly reducing underperformance by improving employee understanding of how they learn and thus, their performance

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