Learning: an unexpected journey

LearningWe don’t have to be conscious to learn. Our grey matter, our neural pathways absorb sequences of light and sound the moment we’re awake, and when we’re asleep we do the same too, and often we don’t even realise. The golden ratio for the conscious learning experience still seems to be 70:20:10. The 70% is done on the job, 20% is through or with colleagues and 10% is through formal learning such as classroom learning. At some point, this ratio needs to be challenged. Not that it isn’t a valid benchmark for learning analysis, but it can surely be broken down further. 


By Jon Kennard, Editor, TrainingZone.co.uk


Let’s look at the 70. I know that anything I learn on the job probably has a lot to do with my colleagues, clients or work contacts. On-the-job experience is still predominantly social learning. And the same goes for the 10. Classroom learning is still inherently a social exercise. Many learning interventions may still be sage-on-the-stage, chalk-and-talk affairs, but in my experience if the teacher or trainer asks a question of the class the answers are often discussed amongst the learners, answer brought forth by consensus. What’s my point? Social learning isn’t about technology, it’s about people, and it’s all-encompassing and all-pervasive. But we only acknowledge its existence within certain learning paradigms.


So how is learning changing and how are we actively changing it ourselves? A key driver for many businesses is the acceptance of Bring Your Own Device, a prominent facet of device-agnostic learner-focused instructional design and all the other good stuff that puts the learner in the middle of the picture where they belong; another driver of change is the MOOC – now a couple of years old but still maturing and diversifying, with more courses on offer than ever before – even if completion rates remain low. But business leaders outside of the L&D department do not seem to be waking up to the idea that learning is a continuous process of education, not limited to the classroom. The corporate sector can learn a lot from the sphere of education, just as higher education institutions should also look to the business sector to build on existing learning success. This partnership needs to be explored, analysed and galvanised.


To put a silver lining on the cloud of recession that has irreversibly shrouded the global economy of the last six years, many learning initiatives have been shaped by their lack of budget, their fat trimmed and the results leaner, more efficient. Given the choice, learning departments wouldn’t have wanted to be shorn of resources, of course, but had there not been the need to improvise who knows whether the MOOC or BYOD would have been so successful?


A frequent speaker and participant, Kennard describes his OEB experience as: “A place where excited minds meet to exchange much more than just business cards – it’s about ideas, inspiration and the unexpected journey your learning takes you on. It’s constantly changing.”

One Response

  1. Dr. Brian Monger

    I know you are only expressing an opinion, but you have offerred no substantiation to your idea that we can learn while asleep, being unconscious. I am not aware of any positive scientific evidence to support that position. I am aware of a number of studies that refute it.

    Isn’t this the old “subliminal” learning concept?


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