Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Effective Learning

Learning is any activity that leads to a relatively permanent change in behavior. It occurs through experience. Learning can take place through any of the four approaches:
  • Intuitive Learning : This takes place primarily through guesswork
  • Incidental Learning : This takes place through any unplanned event
  • Retrospective Learning : This takes place by reviewing one’s past experiences
  • Prospective Learning : This takes place by planning to learning ahead

David Kolb proposed the learning cycle which consists of four stages commencing from Concrete Experience leading to Reflective Observation transcending into Abstract Conceptualisation and culminating into Active Experimentation.

Peter Honey and Allan Mumford took the above findings forward and labeled the four categories of learners as under:

  • Activists : Concrete Experiencers
  • Reflectors : Reflective Observers
  • Theorists : Abstract Conceptualisers
  • Pragmatists : Active Experimenters

It therefore behoves on a trainer to appreciate that learners are not homogenous in their learning styles. Because of this heterogenecity, a trainer should tailor-make his/her presentation to match the interests of the concerned learner. So, Activists will prefer business games, outbound training, Reflectors will like case-studies, brainstorming through group discussions, Theorists will look forward to concept sharing, lecture methods, while Pragmatists will be comfortable with a blend of the foregoing techniques.

However, whatever is the technique, the following principles should be borne in mind to foster an effective training climate:

  • Learning takes place in a relatively relaxed and non-threatening environment
  • Learning takes place when a reward is associated with the learning process
  • Learning takes place when the learner is given sufficient time to practice the learning content
  • Learning takes place when the learner sees practical utility in what is being learnt
  • Learning takes place when reinforcement is provided to the learning process

Once the above measures are taken into consideration, it will result in a ‘win-win situation’ for both the trainer and the learner. This forms the fulcrum of effective learning.

Contributed By:
Prof. D. P. Chattopadhyay
(Globsyn Business School)