“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” – Eric Hoffer
Learning is the most valuable skill of the future. All the recruiters are looking for people able to learn and renew themselves continuously. On an organizational level, the culture of learning seems to be everywhere. Learning is written in capital letters, as if it would be a whole new trait for humans.
When following the discussion around learning as a skill, learning is typically described as a skill like eating or walking. However, the difference is that people learn to walk. They learn to eat. The question is, what is it that people would need to learn to do, when learning is described as a skill?
Some people are frustrated with this puzzle, trying to find the time for learning. Were people trying to find the time to invent fire, or the wheel? Or were they just trying different things that would make a difference in how they live their lives?
As a basis, we humans learn from even before we are born and continue to do so until death as a consequence of ongoing interactions between people and our environment. Thus, learning is a result of those interactions. Learning is a processual skill, not a single event and cannot happen in a void. Learning is a process where the following aspects take place:
- Through interaction with others (usually new people) you start to get this odd feeling of “knowing what you don´t know” and “knowing what you know”
- This results to more interactions (dialogue, reading, experimenting) and finding yourself in a situation where you really know what you don´t know
- This is the place where you easily turn back and follow the old path – or learn a new skill or change your thinking a bit.
- Through experimenting and trying you usually learn more and you start again to “know what you know” and to even master in that area
- …Before it all starts from the beginning, after having interaction with new people and environments
Learning is a fun yet challenging process and sometimes knowing is more fun than not knowing. These learning processes are ongoing parallels in our lives, if we just want to become aware of those and if we let them happen, tolerating the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing and challenging ourselves to interactions with people with different skills and backgrounds.
Summing up: for learning to happen, we must have interactions with others, we must see learning as a result with no ending date and we must praise dwelling in the zone of not knowing.
At Solita, we encourage the process of learning to start with the following actions. These are all places for interactions, places to enter the learning process.
- Trying out new tasks/approaches in current role, gathering feedback and reflecting
- Trying out new roles in a current project
- Retro’s and Daily´s as places to give/receive feedback and reflect
- Pair/Teamwork: coding, solution building, code reviews
- Job rotation/new tasks/new role/new project/new customer
- Induction of new project team members
- Teaching/Training others (which is the best way to learn yourself)
- Taking part in competence communities of your interest and what suit you best
To stop learning and start trying, take a look at your day: what are the interactions you welcome, which are the ones you avoid and how much are you aware of these?