What is the Most Important Learning Competency You Need to Use Each Day?
What is the one learning competency, if learned well, would dramatically change your life?
This question has been and is still one of my favourites. It got me thinking about the importance of learning. If learning one competency could dramatically change my life, then what if that one competency was how to learn new knowledge and skills!
I believe that knowing how to learn effectively and efficiently is a critical set of skills for everyone, no matter your age, status in life, or occupation.
In the same way that oxygen is necessary for sustaining life and continuous growth, learning well enhances your mental growth. Just like other living things, our brains thrive and grow under the right conditions. Everyone’s brain is made for learning!
As a Learning and Development professional for over forty years, I know that learning is a skill just like any other skill. I've had to personally learn how to become an highly efficient professional learner in order to custom-design learning programs, materials and resources for my clients. At the beginning of every learning design project I need to use my learning competencies to learn learn about a new topic or skill that I know nothing about.
I get the challenging job of reading and sorting through unorganized, unfriendly and visually ugly learning content so I can then design a powerful and brain-friendly learning process that others can easily and quickly follow.
So, what key learning competency (knowledge and skill) should you use to gain, retain, recall and reuse new knowledge and skills?
It’s a key competency professional training designers use consciously and intentionally when designing learning initiatives. It’s called, ‘learnalyzing™’. You won’t find it in the dictionary since it’s a word I coined to describe a way of looking at and thinking about learning content that needs to be mentally processed.
What does it mean to ‘learnalyse™’? Let’s look at the two words, ‘learning‘ and ‘analyse‘.
- ‘Learning‘ means to gain new knowledge or skill by study, instruction or experience so you can recall and use it when needed.
- ‘Analyze‘ means to study or determine the nature and relationship of the structure and its parts to discover its true nature or inner relationships.
- pausing to figure out exactly WHAT you need to learn and to what level of competence,
- demystifying the structure and organization of the learning content for easier brain processing, and then
- strategizing HOW to go about moving the content into your brain for easy retention and recall (from brain 'bog' to brain 'bright').
Learnalyzing™ is the missing step that needs to happen consciously when you begin to mentally engage with any kind of learning materials and media. It’s a fundamental but often hidden part of the learning process.
You need to actively identify what you’re learning. Are you learning facts? Are you learning a procedure (with steps and actions)? Are there new concepts or terminology you need to define?
Your brain needs to consciously decipher what you're learning and figure out where to place or hang the new knowledge and/or skills in your brain for easier retention and recall. That’s what learnalyzing™ is all about. It‘s how to take anything you need to learn and demystify it so it’s easier to learn.
What’s the point of trying to learn something if you can’t remember or use it later on? Information awareness ('know of') is not real learning! Vaguely knowing 'of' something or someone will not get you very far, not even on the game show Jeopardy.
You can learn new knowledge and/or skills faster and easier if you look for (learnalyze™) and work with and re-work learning content so that it is pro-cognitive, i.e., the features, characteristics and attributes that make it easier to learn are obvious and understandable.
Learnalyzing™ helps you make whatever content you need to learn more pro-cognitive. You become more in control of your own learning process!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valerie Dixon, M.Ed., CTDP, President of Learnware Design Inc., (www.learnware.com) is a leading learning efficiency and effectiveness strategist and thought leader in the field of workplace learning and performance. Valerie has over 40 years of experience in all aspects of performance needs analysis, learning organization strategy development and learning design. She is the creator and designer of programs and products that accelerate job competence™.
We are learning experts who work with organizational leaders and employees to accelerate job competence™ for increased performance, productivity, and profits.
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