What is learning?
If this blog is going to be about learning, I suppose it would be prudent to discuss the word. For all of my life, I’ve been a student or teacher. (Really, aren’t we all?) The first time I penned a definition of learning was in graduate school. The definition was academic and backed up with theories of cognition and psychology. Most of that original definition is still relevant, but the way I think of learning has evolved. Learning is empowerment, growth, and change.
Learning empowers people to take control. In the workplace, learning helps employees to perform better on the job. Learning helps managers be better bosses. Learning encourages customers to come back for more and ultimately, drives results. Better information inspires better decisions.
Learning supports and promotes growth. When employees learn about the history of your organization, they’re more likely to connect the dots and make impactful decisions in the future. When customers learn what they can get from purchasing goods and services, they’re more likely to pledge loyalty.
Learning encourages productive change. The best way to predict the future is by understanding the past. Sustainable organizations are overflowing with stakeholders (employees, customers, board members, managers, etc.) that know the big picture of the industry and the space that the particular organization occupies. More importantly, they share this information openly. The days of the all-knowing c-suite executive are gone. Information is cheap—strategic thinking is an asset.
So that’s learning. I will revisit this topic often. At some point maybe I’ll bring up that boring, academic definition.