5 Ways to Improve Your Ability to Learn

5 Ways to Improve Your Ability to Learn
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The Concept of Talent
In general when we think of talent, we think of someone’s having a special gift, a natural aptitude or skill.  And we think that such a talent is given to only a few.  If we don’t have it, we can’t get it.  But new research in how the brain works tells us that we should broaden the concept of talent in a way that will help improve your ability to learn.

The New Mindset
The idea of “giftedness” is old fashioned.  Jo Boaler, a Stanford University math professor, argues in her book, Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead, and Live Without Barriers, that people can learn just about anything.  You simply need a better understanding of how the brain works and how to support your learning.

Improve Your Ability to Learn in the Workplace
To us, the ability to learn just about anything sounds intriguing.  We wondered how this broader thinking around talent could benefit the workplace.  If employees are not limited by what they think they can do and what they think they can learn, the possibilities of their growth and career development are unbounded.

5 Ways to Improve Your Ability to Learn

  1. Learn by Knowing that Your Brain Can Do It
    First, you need to understand that your brain has no limit to what it can learn. Your brain is always changing.  New neural pathways are being formed all the time.

    Your brain is not “stuck.” Your brain can be fundamentally rewired.  Your brain is open and ready to learn new things, build new pathways, and strengthen connections.

  2. Learn by Changing Your Attitude
    Don’t be limited by notions that you’re not “smart enough” or that an “old dog cannot learn new tricks.” Understand that learning new skills is often more about effort than innate ability.  When you change your mindset about what is possible, you increase your motivation to learn new and different skills.
  3. Learn though Challenges
    If you stay in your comfort zone, you limit your ability learn, grow, and perform. When you struggle with something new or challenging and make mistakes along the way, you strengthen learning by focusing on solving a difficult problem.

    If you want to learn and grow, you need to get used to stretching beyond the boundaries of your comfortable patterns and routines.

  4. Learn in Different Ways
    There are many different learning modalities, from eLearning, to attending live workshops, to on-the-job experience. Some modalities are more effective than others depending upon what you are trying to accomplish.

    In general, the more interactive the learning modality and the more relevant the content, the better.  Whenever possible, try new learning strategies that engage more centers of your brain.

  5. Learn with Others
    Learning is simply more engaging and powerful when you do it with others. Team members can provide meaningful feedback and support one another as they learn new skills together.  It’s liberating to find that different people learn at different speeds and face different problems in different ways.

    Make sure that learners know that they are not alone in their struggle to climb up a challenging learning curve.

The Bottom Line
Look at your learning environment.  Are you doing all you can to foster better learning for your employees?

To learn more about ways to improve your ability to learn, download The 7 Principles of Effective Learning

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