Learning to learn – or how to thrive as an organization in the digital age

Learning to learn – or how to thrive as an organization in the digital age

Ulrich Boser at the Learning Technologies 2018

Learning Technologies 2018

When was the last time you have studied a foreign language? During the study, which was the most effective form of learning, where you noticed the best results? In terms of words memorized application of grammar rules or ability to have a conversation. Was it the self study, was it after a test, was it after writing a composition, after classroom, after a conversation with a native, after seeing a movie in the respective language or after a trip in the country where that language is spoken?

Ulrich Boser at the Learning Technologies 2018

The recent presentation of Ulrich Boser at the Learning Technologies 2018 Conference in London The key commandment of “learning to learn”, or how to become an expert in just about anything has inspired me to reflect on how organizations apply the science of learning to their learners.

Because as long as a recent research by Deloitte found that corporate L&D received a net-promoter score of -8 from more than 700 HR professionals, this clearly shows that some big changes are required of L&D, at least in terms of focusing on employee needs. This NPS (net-promoter score) being actually negative means that people are going elsewhere to learn.

Most learning is not modern, not personal and not agile, according to Fosway Group. Its research of 1,300 L&D professionals across Europe showed that 20% of learning teams often personalize learning, 20% are thinking about agile learning and 20% often gamify the learning experience.

As Fosway Group’s director of research, David Perring, said: “We know that people don’t do great blending. We know that they don’t think about measurement. And I think it’s easy to try to steer away from those topics. But I think as we get further into digital transformation in organisations, we actually need to face those a little bit more.”

Perring’s advice to L&D was also to put employees centre stage and to help solve their problems.

“My take-away from the research really is that we need to use it as a call to action to think about doing things afresh. And it’s not about adopting more technology. It’s just attending to the needs of our employees, the people that we need to help,” he said.

For example, Ulrich Boser, the author of Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or, How to Become an Expert in Just About Anything, Amazon Editor’s Pick for Best Science Book of the Year 2017, thinks that L&D professionals should give people the opportunity to relearn. He said: “The more you retrieve information from your memory, the better you remember. So don’t be put off by the fact that people might forget but make sure you design in opportunities for people to learn and relearn information because it will stay with them for longer.”

"Retrieval Practice Produces More Learning than Elaborate Studying with Concept Mapping" by J. Karpicke and J. Blunt

Now you are maybe making sense why some of the best form of language learning are speaking with a native, or immersing yourself in a foreign context, where you have no other option than to remember some essential expressions like amount of money, ordering for food or water and so on, depending on your proficiency or engagement with the local culture.

I highly encourage you to watch the recording of Ulrich Boser keynote presentation here:

His main takeaways (without spoiling his vivid presentation) are:

We can get much better to learning by using specific tools and techniques like:

  1. Make Meaning
  2. The blessing and the Curse of Knowledge
  3. Honor Short-Term Memory
  4. Think about Thinking
  5. Promote Feedback
  6. Remember to Remember
  7. Respect Emotions
  8. Gain deep Features
  9. Uncover Connections
  10. Reflect, Reflect, Reflect

And now I invite you to reflect on what have you learnt through this article that you can apply in your personal or organizational learning.

I am looking forward to have a conversation with you! Please write your thoughts below.

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