Don't Under-estimate the Importance of Learning

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No one can deny the importance of learning in life and people in organizations.

Learning empowers. It is the means by which you can reach the next level. And eventually to the highest level possible.

Learning leads to wisdom which, in turn, improves productivity. And to a better quality of life.

Learning is a continuous activity by which you gain more knowledge about something important. Knowledge of the right nature equips employees with the capability to perform their jobs better.

It is for this reason that corporate leaders need to know what knowledge organizations need for improvement and survival. They can then equip their people with such knowledge. This goes to show importance of learning things that are relevant.

This is Wikipedia's definition.

    "Learning is acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, preferences or understanding..."

Some people speak of wisdom as "accumulated knowledge". This is the knowledge present in organizations.

Others describe wisdom as a way of "dealing with the world". When applied to organizations, we are referring to the "world" of human resources, and other things.

Wikipedia describes wisdom as "...understanding, experience...along with a capacity to apply these qualities well..."

In the area of strategic human resource management we include the type of wisdom that leads to new or better insights, new ways of understanding, new ways of doing things.

Together with the ability to apply the newly-gained knowledge in the preparation of strategic human resource plan, your organization can reach a higher level of productivity.

Knowledge Acquisition

We know that "adults learn differently from children".

When you conduct training activities remember that your employees' capacity to acquire knowledge is colored by their personal experiences. These are either positive or negative.

Malcolm Knowles puts forward several assumptions about adult learning.

  • The Need to Know
  • Inform your employees why they need to understand or acquire a certain skill. They are more receptive to new knowledge when they know the benefits that will ensue.
  • The Need to be Self-Directing
  • Involve your people in planning and determining the direction of their knowledge and skills acquisition.
  • Volume and Quality of Experience
  • Your employees have big stores of experience and varied backgrounds. Use experiential methods for your employees (who are adults) to acquire new skills and knowledge. Problems solving exercises and discussions are two of these.
  • Readiness.
  • Get your people ready for the training that are arranged for them.
  • Orientation.
  • There are better results when the training revolves around life itself, the respective tasks of employees and job problems.

Demonstrate the importance of learning

Knowledge Organization

Knowledge helps organization to prosper. Knowledge empowers people.

Does your organization have the culture of promoting a knowledge organization, asking questions such as what learning can do for you, the employees?

You will notice signs whether your corporate culture is achieving this.

  • Employees share their knowledge and skills and use these in the performance of their respective job.
  • Systems exist that create and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and skills.
  • Employees are encouraged to think critically instead of just accepting things as they are.
  • Your corporate culture promotes and supports knowledge acquisition by rewarding such behaviors.
  • Employees are allowed to experiment and take reasonable risks.

Knowledge Management

In this information age, organizational success is subject to the accuracy of available data and knowledge, and the way these are processed. Organizations cannot underestimate importance of learning. They need to ensure employees get the right knowledge and skills such as language skills.

But it is not enough just to know the importance of learning. Effective application of the wisdom gained is even more important.

Improve your organization's position by making use of the intellectual capital presently available in the organization.

Intellectual capital includes:

  • your human capital
  • renewal capital which is intellectual property
  • structural capital consisting of the knowledge available in the organization. This is present in the systems and structures.
  • relationship capital consisting of the relationships with customers, suppliers, competitors and other relevant parties.

Help your people in the sharing of information and ensure that they can easily obtain them.

If not managed properly, knowledge is ineffectual in reducing or eliminating waste, whether time, efforts or both.

Knowledge management involves making full, effective and efficient use of the knowledge presently residing in your organization.

It also involves creating and communicating new knowledge among employees.

Effective Training Management

Trainability is a pre-condition for learning. In this case, if you have people reporting to you, explain to them that what learning can do for you, it will do for them, too.

Take this into consideration when formulating training methodology and techniques.

It is essential that you know your people's attitudes towards training and what they expect to get from it.

Ensure that employees are aware of:

  • The relevance of the training to their duties and responsibilities
  • The rewards for demonstrating the right behaviours
  • importance of the ability to use the new skills and knowledge in the better performance of their respective job
  • The performance gap between their present performance and expected targets and the importance of closing the gap

Some of these are related to matters mentioned under what a knowledge organization is.

In these activities,

  • Schedule your training activities in order to maximize the speed of knowledge and skills acquisition and level of retention
  • Break the training activities to reflect the different components of the job
  • Ensure that employees can practise what they had learned
  • Emphasize "performance of the job itself"
  • Take note that employees respond differently to different training methodologies

It is to the advantage of your organization if the provision and acquisition of knowledge and skills are managed strategically.

Remember this in the process of formulating your human resource strategy.

Learning is an essential part of Human Resource Development. The importance of learning for employees and organization alike is closely connected to effective dissemination of information and effective use of such information.

    "How did I succeed in my studies today? Could I have learned more? Could I have studied better? Is there something I neglected?"
    - Pythagoras to his students.

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