What is learning capacity in a company? How to have the ability to learn? In today’s episode I would like to propose a reflection on an intrapersonal intelligence competence that is highly valued today in organizations, given the changing and complex environments we find ourselves in. It’s about the ability to learn.
What is learning ability?
It consists of the ability to develop new knowledge and skills, the interest in continuous training and the curiosity to expand capacities, both technical and behavioural competences.
It is about acquiring these skills and also putting them into practice in order to exercise and internalize them.
Phases in learning capacity
According to one of the most influential psychologists in humanistic psychology,
the 4 phases of learning are:
First phase: UNCONSCIOUSLY INCOMPETENT:
When I don’t know I don’t know. Pre-learning phase. At that moment, the key is awareness and decision-making.
Let’s use a very simple example: someone who has never needed to drive and is offered a job where they need to drive a car. Awareness is realizing that you don’t have the card.
Then comes the decision: Do I want to learn to drive and get my license? (Or I prefer to go by another means of transport, go with a person from work in their car, walk, that is, make a decision among other possible alternatives). Faced with the realization that I don’t know, I can choose one of those two options, (to learn or not to do it).
The more aligned my decision is with my values, motivations and the benefits I may have, the more energy I will have to carry out the learning.
Phase Two: CONSCIOUSLY INCOMPETENT:
I know I don’t know… And I want to learn.
In this phase, a positive attitude is key, being patient in the face of mistakes, and in the face of feelings that may arise from frustration, clumsiness, inability, etc.
In the previous example , I’m learning the theoretical part in a driving school, little by little, and I’m learning how to put it into practice, sometimes I get the wrong pedal, when changing gears, but I’m tolerant and patient and I’m still learning.
Third Phase: CONSCIOUSLY COMPETENT:
By continuing to practice, we acquire skills.
In this phase, concentration and putting the 5 senses into what I do is key. At this stage, I can’t let my guard down. I’m learning to drive but I still need to pay attention to what I’m doing.
Sometimes, even quite a long time after I have passed the driving test (and have in my possession the license that proves my “competence as a driver”), I need to stop and think when I get in the car, before starting, what is the process to follow.
For example: putting on my seatbelt, checking/adjusting the seat and mirrors, removing the parking brake, engaging the clutch, first gear, etc. That is to say, the process is still on the plane of consciousness, I have not yet internalized it unconsciously, that will be the last phase.
That is why in this phase it is important not to get complacent and to continue paying attention with the 5 senses, since “trusting” could mislead the brain that has a tendency to return to “previous habits”.
This happens, for example, when we want to learn how to do something in a new and different way than we have been doing for a long time. If I don’t pay attention, I run the risk of going back to a previous habit.
Fourth Phase: UNCONSCIOUSLY COMPETENT:
When I have internalized the learning and I already do it in an “almost unconscious” way.
If it’s been a while since you got your driver’s license, surely the process that we have mentioned above that you carry out when you get in the car, before starting, you already do it almost automatically.
The key to moving from the third phase to the last is perseverance in repetition. It’s just practicing.
When you have repeated the learning a sufficient number of times, it becomes a new habit and it is no longer so necessary to pay so much attention to it, it is easy and fast for you to do it.
This competition It is therefore related to curiosity (eagerness to observe, know, discover, investigate), decision-making (related to the ability to choose based on values and motivations), perseverance (related to the constancy and discipline necessary to maintain a positive attitude in the face of error) and results orientation (to direct efforts towards the achievement of the objective according to the established deadlines).
Nowadays we hear a lot in companies a neologism adapted from English, it is “learnability“. This concept is related to the person’s ability to continue learning continuously, to develop new skills that allow them to better adapt to the environment.
HOW CAN I TRAIN MY LEARNING CAPACITY?
1- Think of an activity that excites you
To develop your individual learning, think about an activity that you have been excited to learn for a long time, and that, for one reason or another, you have postponed. Some examples could be: playing a sport, or a hobby, playing an instrument, or an artistic activity.
Choose the activity that motivates you enough and set a realistic goal of what you want to achieve. Think about the short term, i.e. what do I want to have learned about this in 3 months? And 6 months from now?
Remember to be specific and realistic when setting this goal.
From there, establish in writing the specific action plan you want to make in your weekly learning plan.
2- Areas for professional improvement
Another reflection that I invite you to make is to definewhat your areas of improvement are at a professional level. What shortcomings do you have at the training level? What would you like to know how to do better? Some examples could be: knowing how to use a computer program, learning a language, greater knowledge about financial terms, knowing more information in depth about a specific area of your activity or sector, or about other sectors, etc. Define what will be the specific action plan that you are going to carry out on a weekly basis to increase your training in this aspect.
3- Read a lot
The more you read, the better. The habit of reading increases the ability to concentrate, the speed of learning and the development of imagination.
Choose books not only on topics you already know, but also on other topics that you don’t know about and that you want to investigate or discover.
This makes you expand your vision and your knowledge. Participate in book clubs or opinion forums on topics that are of interest to you, this will allow you to take advantage of the synergies of mutual learning with other people and learn about other points of view.
And you, what experiences do you have regarding the ability to learn? What would you like to discuss?