Britt Andreatta, PhD
Creating a Culture of Learning in 6 Steps
By Britt Andreatta, PhD
What is a culture of learning?
Whether you know it or not, your organization has a learning culture. If you employ humans, learning happens in your workplace every day. We’re biologically wired to learn. We can’t stop ourselves.
Learning is necessary for survival. It’s a natural instinct. We constantly absorb information, determine what’s important, and decide how to act.
Learning experiences happen all around us. Are you directing them? Or are you allowing them to happen on their own?
This guide explores six steps you can use to successfully create a transformative culture of learning at your organization.
LEARNING HAPPENS EVERYDAY.
Are you tending it?
Are you cultivating it?
Are you driving it?
What are people learning?
People learn about their positions, job skills, policies and procedures, and colleagues. They also learn who has power and influence, whether leaders are trustworthy, if risk taking is rewarded, and if harassment is tolerated. In other words, they learn about the real values of your organization, not just those posted on its website.
"In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the others find themselves equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."
— Eric Hoffer, Social Philosopher and Author
Transformative learning is the expansion of consciousness through the transformation of worldview and capacities of the self. It’s an act of changing how we see and do things.
The role of learning is to maximize the potential of your organization by maximizing the potential of all the people in it. According to researchers, the three dimensions of transformative learning are:
Change In Understanding
Knowledge, information, models, and theories shift the learner’s understanding and provide the “why”.
Change In Actions
The learner uses observation, application, and experimentation to do something differently.
Revision of belief system
The learner permanently shifts a perspective or view, often through “Aha!” moment or insight.
The benefits of transformative learning
Creating a transformative culture of learning pays off. Consider how these benefits would affect your productivity and profit.
EMPLOYMENT ENGAGEMENT goes up, directly impacting productivity, staff retention, and customer satisfaction, according to studies by Gallup, BlessingWhite, Bersin, and McLean and Company.
A “GROWTH MINDSET” takes root yielding ever-higher levels of performance. Research by Dr. Carol Dweck shows that people with a growth mindset learn from mistakes and actively seek out new challenges.
ENHANCED CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION drives individual and team success. Dr. Brené Brown’s research on vulnerability and shame shows that risk-taking invites valuable lessons that come from failure.
EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION goes up, According to the book, "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Dan Pink, studies show that humans are most motivated by autonomy, mastery, and meaningful purpose. Learning contributes to all three.
NEW TECHNOLOGY SKILLS are easier to obtain. People need frequent training on new and ever-changing devices, software applications, and social media tools. On-demand learning not only saves time and money but empowers learners to find their own answers.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT gains priority. “Human” skills like leadership, self control, empathy, communication, conflict resolution, and cultural competence are critical to the success of any organization. These skills can be learned and honed through learning experiences.
Creating a culture of learning in 6 steps
Honor the ever-present nature of learning
Don’t treat learning as an event to be scheduled. It’s an unbounded resource because it’s in our very DNA to be lifelong learners. Cultivate potential to boost performance.
Tip: Offer vibrant events for every employee — on demand and in person.
Value learning as a path to mastery
Make it safe to take risk—and to make mistakes. Celebrate “Aha!” moments as much as easy wins. Encourage risk taking and failure. Understand that the cost of not encouraging failure is a shortage of innovation.
Make learning easily accessible
Empower employees to find their own answers. Neuroscientists say that people retain this type of learning far longer than just being told what to do. On-demand instruction lets learners find their own answers right then they need them.
Use Blended Learning to Maximize Options
Consider every person and situation. In-person learning allows handson application and collaboration. On-demand learning offers flexibility and empowers people to learn at their own pace. Combine the two to effectively achieve your learning objectives.
Teach managers how to coach
Build employee competence and confidence using appreciative inquiry, which is a method for learning from peak performances. Make sure managers know how to ask coaching questions that help employees cultivate their own wisdom and confidence.
Evaluate performance based on learning
Measure learning along with performance to boost both. Reward growth and improvement. Recognize learning hunger and commitment as a way to boost performance and productivity.
“There are 10 seeds in an apple. But how many apples are in a seed? You must help your employees learn and grow so they become the talented workforce you need tomorrow.”
— Martha Soehren, Chief Talent Officer at Comcast
Your organization as a whole, as well as every person in it, has unrealized ability. The most effective way to cultivate that potential is through building a transformative culture of learning. You can help your organization achieve new heights and develop employees who achieve great things.
About the author
Britt Andreatta is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of experience consulting, coaching, and teaching. Using her research and expertise working with businesses, universities, and nonprofit organizations, she creates powerful solutions to today’s most pressing workplace problems.
She is the author of several titles on leadership and learning and her new book is titled "Wired to Grow: Harness the Power of Brain Science to Master Any Skill".
View these LinkedIn Learning courses, featuring author Britt Andreatta to continue exploring how to elevate the culture of learning at your organization.
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