Abhijit BhaduriFuture of WorkGuest Author

Building a Culture of Continuous Learning

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist

Yesterday I ran a webinar for the HR Federation of India for 700 participants. The video was for the webinar invitation. Sahil Nayyar of KPMG was the host and there were a series of questions about what business, managers and individuals can do. There is a sketchnote at the end that you may find useful
When we speak about building a culture of continuous learning, we are actually identifying the three important elements of the process.
Building: The word “building” means it has to be built ground upwards, brick by brick. It is not something that can be created overnight by issuing a mandate.
Culture: The word culture reminds us that Learning is a social process. We learn from many sources – From people in authority, peers and also from people younger than us. Being part of a group that is excited and curious encourages others. The reverse is also true.
Continuous learning: People who learn something on a continuous basis are internally motivated and do not depend on either carrots or sticks to explore ideas. Neither do they limit themselves to learning something just when there is an immediate need.

Learning in times of stress

Straight up and brings out the need for self preservation. But that is also when investments in learning drop. If the ship is sinking, that is just the right time to invest heavily in swimming lessons!
Ever since the lockdown has been initiated, some businesses are using learning as a way to keep employees busy. Next time when a leader talks about becoming a learning machine, employees will think of the choices leaders made during the pandemic crisis.
Don’t underestimate the move to online teaching and learning.

Learning digitally is not just about content

Schools and colleges have had to go online in a hurry. Most people are doing a poor job of it.  MBA students at some of the worlds leading business schools like Wharton are demanding a refund on their tuition fees as a compensation for campus closures and the switch to what they view as inferior online learning.
MBA students have complained that reducing classroom lectures and one-to-one tutor meetings with YouTube videos and group calls on Zoom has reduced their learning experience.

Three Ideas

1.  Focus on informal learning: Encouraging the use of Informal Learning is the secret sauce of building a culture of continuous learning. Formal learning is the equivalent of taking a conducted tour while visiting  at new city. Informal learning is all about exploring the city at your own pace. While formal learning is efficient, the effectiveness of informal learning is far higher.
2. Stop measuring and stop tracking metrics: Metrics and measurements kill internal motivation stop to build a culture of curiosity, focus instead on encouraging people to explore adjacencies and even ideas which may not have an immediate application. Metrics and measurements kill internal motivation. To build a culture of curiosity, focus instead on encouraging people to explore adjacencies and even ideas which may not have an immediate application.
3. How to remember what you learn: Learning is about creating new pathways in your brain. Start with reading and follow it up with writing. Then draw it. Use the drawing to speak to and imaginary audience and explain what you have learnt. To seal your learning, teach someone.
Try out these ideas and let me know which one worked best for you. Before you go don’t forget to add your email to my website abhijitbhaduri.com and follow me @abhijitbhaduri on social media. 
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