“What did you learn today?” It was a question I was often asked at the end of school days. It was a question I heard often in my corporate years, after completing training or implementing a new process. It has become a central question for me in undertaking any new endeavor, personal or professional. It’s a key question to ask oneself when faced with successes or failures, achievements, or disappointments. “What did you learn?” implies identification of what worked and what didn’t and defines the path forward.
The need to learn is a given. Without learning, say goodbye to growth, evolution, personal and professional development, and constant improvement. More importantly, say goodbye to your business if learning is not a constant.
Learning is a strategic initiative, and arguably the most critical component for a company’s growth and success. And it can never stop. Employee training and development is essential, but if training doesn’t result in demonstrated learning, it’s just lip service. For a company or an individual, learning must be greater than or equal to the rate of change.
Educator Neil Postman stated that “children enter school as question marks and leave as periods.” In many instances, the same can be said for adults entering the corporate world. It is imperative to keep the question marks on the forefront.
So how does one go about making sure that employees are learning, learning, and learning without cessation? This is where training comes in. Training must be meaningful to the employee, not a formalistic exercise to satisfy a regulation or required hours.
All training programs have learning objectives, but every training program ever designed and conducted must include this objective: To generate thought. Thought leads to understanding and awareness, which leads to paradigm shifts and inevitable growth. Growth is the greatest ROI there is for an individual or a company. Think about the difference between a degree and an education. Getting a degree means attending classes, obtaining the required credits, and passing tests. Obtaining an education requires critical thinking and understanding. Author Wallace Wattles stated: “There is no labor from which most people shrink as they do from that of sustained and consecutive thought; it is the hardest work in the world.”
In educating people on content, trainers must never lose sight of the intent, which is to generate thought and increase learning. Learning needs to be integrated into all processes and outcomes. Too often, training and subsequent learning is in reaction to something that failed. If a valued customer is lost due to poor customer service, it’s easy to mandate customer service training . . but it’s also too late.
At Learning Dynamics, we customize each learning solution to ensure that participants are challenged to think, learn, and grow. Our goal is to have them answer a key question: “What did you learn today?”
Visit us at www.learningdynamics.com