What do we say, that something is as easy as riding a bike? Well most of us have probably conveniently forgotten just how hard it can be to master something as tricky as riding a bike.
Your parents might have shown you how to ride, explained it to you, maybe even drawn pictures to explain how a bike moves. They’ll have tried lots of different techniques to try and teach you. However, it probably wasn’t until you actually got on the bike and turned the pedals for the first time that you actually learnt what riding a bike really was. What does that mean for the way we learn at work?
We asked Simon Chilley, Head of SThree’s Learning & Development Team for Europe and the APAC Region for his insight into how we learn and how SThree can guide new starters in their career. Let’s take a look.
Doing is learning, is that true?
For years we’ve considered learning to simply be the acquisition of knowledge or skills.
With that goal, an entire industry has been born. We’ve worked hard to try and figure out how we can get people to remember stuff, how we can get people to want to remember stuff and how we can tell people stuff in a way that fits their ‘style’.
Here’s the problem: It doesn’t matter what you can do, only what you actually do!
The increasing use of technology in the workplace has given rise to some remarkable advances in the way we communicate. It’s now easier, faster and cheaper to get your message to the masses than it ever has been.
The learning industry has benefitted enormously from this as well. eLearning has been around longer than I have, but it’s never seen the growth and attention it currently has. It seems that every training programme has an online module to support it – promoting knowledge retention as the holy grail of instructional design.
But answer me this: How did you learn to ride your bike?
Was it a result of comprehensive pre-reading followed by a role play (with actors, of course) where 11 of your peers then took it in turns to give you one piece of positive feedback and one piece of developmental feedback? Did you develop an action plan for how you will apply your new skills in the real world when you finally get your new bike at Christmas?
Or did you give it a go and see how you did? Were you guided by an experienced cyclist/parent who’d bolted some stabilisers onto your actual bike? Did you learn in the real world, rather than a simulation of it, developing your new skills as a result of trial and error with actual consequences if you get it right or wrong?
SThree’s Learning and Development Programme
We all learn from experience. All of us. Regardless of our style or our memory or our motivations.
Here at SThree we are using that fact to transform the way people develop.
We develop our workforce because we want them to be better at their job, because we want them to feel better at their job and because we want them to realise their full potential. We realise this doesn’t happen at 5:30pm on Day 3 of our Introduction to Whatever training course. It happens when you sit across from the C-Suite Exec of XYZ Conglomerate and realise you have nothing to say, when you’re on the phone to the woman who can make or break your next deal and she asks you a question you can’t answer, or when your biggest customer calls you and tells you they’re renegotiating your contract.
A colleague said to me recently “People do what they do because of what happens to them when they do it”.
When you learn at SThree we will give you the tools you need to do your job and the knowledge of how to use them, but we won’t stop there. You will be guided by experts in the application of those tools, rewarded when you use them well and supported when you don’t. We will be there when you learn it, when you practice it and when you apply it to make sure you have the best possible chance of success. You will learn in real life, just like you did when you learnt to ride your bike (stabilisers and all), and for that reason your learning will stick.
Learning is not just the acquisition of knowledge and skills. It is the application of those skills in the pursuit of a goal. Let’s never settle for just knowing. Let’s aim for doing!
If you'd like to find out more about the training support you can expect when working at SThree, get in touch with our Learning & Development Team, Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7469 5250.