I recently saw a comment in my Twitter stream that inspired me to write this post. The comment was “Training is out. Learning is in.” I thought the comment was interesting because it kinda sounded like learning was out at some point. And now it’s back in style again.
The other part of the comment that was interesting is the part about training. As a training professional, I always thought the focus of training was learning. So how could training be out if learning is in?
I’m probably reading too much into this comment. While I agree with the “learning is in” part of the equation, it’s not a simple matter of someone just saying “I need to work on that.” Most people aren’t do-it-yourself types. We need properly designed and delivered training. Even if it’s just to learn how to identify personal development opportunities and establish our own plan for self-directed learning. Don’t just make the assumption that everyone knows how to do this.
Over the years, I’ve realized there are three ways people learn. And depending upon the topic, people might prefer to learn using a different method. I’ll use me as an example:
Seeing it. There are some topics I enjoy having the opportunity to read about first . . before I have to do them or discuss them. I find this to be especially true when the subject is one that’s talked about a lot. It gives me time to process concepts and/or ideas in my own mind. An example for me is the topic of leadership. There’s so much information about leadership, I appreciate reading about it, processing it, then taking action. And I use books, magazines, and blogs as ways to discover new ways of thinking.
Hearing it. Sometimes this is combined with sight in terms of video or PowerPoint. But having the chance to hear someone explain a new thought – whether it’s by podcast, blog talk radio, lecture, etc. is an opportunity to have my thought processes challenged. It’s interesting because I find the speakers I really enjoy are the ones that usually end up challenging me in a way I didn’t expect.
Doing it. Getting the chance to actually do new things is incredibly exciting and can be a great self-confidence booster. When presented with the opportunity to do something new, I typically jump at the chance. Even if it’s something I would never do again…the experience alone taught me something valuable. I remember the first time someone asked me to do a conference presentation. I was a nervous wreck. But I planned and prepared…and in the end, everything went fine.
I’ve seen a lot of people miss out on career opportunities because they (1) didn’t take the time to plan out what they wanted to learn, (2) didn’t figure out the best way to learn something – i.e. reading a book when they should go out and do something, and (3) let learning opportunities pass them by.
If you don’t make professional development a priority for yourself, no one else will. Now go seize those opportunities to learn.