It feels like many of us like to over complicate what should be the simple process of learning. As a society we have been sharing knowledge on how to improve our skills from one to another for thousands of years, no buzzwords were attached to this, just good old fashioned you need to know something so let me show you how.
Today it’s very different, it’s like we have made the ability to learn as difficult to do as creating dark matter in the hadron collider. All our fancy buzzwords and bloated LMS that preach to do a million things generally leave people more confused than ever around what learning is and what’s the best way to learn x, y and z.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good old buzzword and reading new insight from various leaders in the industry, yet sometimes I feel like we get lost in our own shit. There’s only so many 50 page dossiers on how people learn with fancy diagrams and stimulating equations that one person can read without thinking — you are making this far more complicated than it needs to be.
A key part of anyone’s role in a learning team should be making things simple, so why is it we like to confuse each other when talking about what should be the simple ways that people actually learn?
When simple becomes complicated
I try to see everything like an engineer would by breaking apart the pieces to see what makes sense, which part works best, what sticks and what’s not needed. It reminds me of an old proverb (if you will) from the legendary Bruce Lee who shared his thoughts on the real simplicity of learning:
“Absorb what is useful, discard what is not and add what is uniquely your own”
I actually have this quote on my phone to remind me to keep everything simple and tailored with me in mind.
The personal element is an important point to highlight here. I’ve spoken at length in other articles, how the style of learning is personal to an individual and what we do in building blended learning solutions is provide as many opportunities as possible to support the varied styles of learning that we all have. There is no one secret style that rules them all approach when it comes to learning or really in most things in life, everyone is different.
We all constantly hear about the new learning philosophy on the block, whether that’s 70:20:10 or social learning. The concept at the heart of these philosophies is all the same and when we break it down, the message we share should be simple — find what works specifically for you.
I’ve spoken with people before who feel chained to the latest philosophies and feel awful that their people don’t understand 70:20:10, aren’t embracing it and generally don’t care. I personally feel this is down to knowing your audience and not explaining the simplicity of learning. These philosophies and buzzwords will come and go, yet the basics of learning will remain the same.
This brings me back to Bruce Lee and his philosophy on learning. The way we learn is always going to be down to our personal approach and at the core of it, learning is exactly as the quote articulates. When we look to develop in any field, we take on board what is useful, remove the rubbish and add in what works for our specific approach — it’s as simple as that really.
Forget the flashy new learning philosophies, the endless buzzwords and fancy methodologies that are confusing our people, creating unnecessary complexion and building even more barriers to learning that we don’t need.
Go back to the basics, the foundation of how learning really works and deliver that message of simplicity to your audience, no matter your style of learning, it’s about finding what works for you, removing what doesn’t and adding in what makes it all come together — a special little something from you.
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