There’s Much More to Learning Than Classes and Lectures

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There's Much More to Learning Than ClassroomsI sometimes surprise even myself when I realize, how much I can still learn about teaching and learning – even though I have gained teaching experience for over ten years! After my relaxing summer holiday I happened to come across the 70:20:10 model for learning and I can surely agree on the idea:

  • 10 % of knowledge is gained from formal learning and teaching (e.g. courses and seminars).
  • 20 % of knowledge is gained from social learning: when you learn from your colleagues and boss, discuss, ask questions, chat, or someone shows you how something is done.
  • 70 % of knowledge is gained by doing; that is when you keep on hitting your head to the wall and learn from your own mistakes.

So only 10 % of knowledge can be achieved by attending courses and lectures. For example, you can book me to teach you the basics of Microsoft SharePoint or Dynamics CRM. The model can be applied during the course: the trainer in front of the class talks you through 10 % of things, 20 % of the time is spent on discussion and sharing tips, and, regarding learning results, the most important part of the whole course is the hard work with exercises. Sadly it seems that too often the clients want to have as much teaching as possible and the time to do exercises is narrowed down. This means that the learning results will not be that strong.

This model should be taken into consideration when organizations plan their own trainings. Many organizations have a formal training plan that is used to manage the previously mentioned 10 % of learning. Most training plans don’t go further than this. How can you even manage what is learned in social interactions or when banging your head to the wall? You probably can’t, but it would be crazy to ignore 90 % of learning potential.

You will never achieve a self-learning organization, if you just keep pushing information to people. In a self-learning organization people start to gather information and solve problems themselves. You can lead the learning of organization by creating an environment where people have an opportunity to share knowledge, discuss, learn from other people’s experience and so on. You can gamify learning, information gathering and social interaction in order to motivate the employees to learn, and use, for instance, the Habit platform we’ve developed. It guides people to do and learn the right things, share their experience and knowledge with others, as well as discuss and comment.

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing”, says a business management book. How can you lead your own learning by example? Employees can often feel that only their managers (or the key personnel in organization) attend conferences and courses, and they feel left out, because they are not offered the same opportunities. However, managers actively discuss with their experts and they are the first ones to solve difficult problems. This work is not scheduled in their calendars, because the work is mainly done during unofficial coffee breaks or after work drinks. Habit makes this unofficial work transparent by using tasks and questions that encourage the whole organization to deepen its knowledge.