by Melanie Greene

How will you know you have learned?

In some cases, you can take tests and exams to test your knowledge, but with much of what we are learning in the workplace today it is less clear cut as to whether you have learned something, mastered a particular skill or changed a behaviour.

Start at the very beginning

When it comes to a skill or behavioural change, you need to be clear at the beginning as to what you are expecting from the learning process. You might find it useful to consider the following questions:

  • What do I want?
  • What skill or behaviour do I want to adopt?

It is best to state this in the positive as this is more motivating and your brain will react differently towards it.

Stated positively... Rather than...
I want to be relaxed and be able to cope well with the pressures I face. I don’t want to be stressed any more.
I want to be able to calmly and assertively tackle performance management issues. I want to stop getting angry with X when they make mistakes.
I want to be able to handle challenging questions during my presentation to the board in a calm, clear and confident manner. I don’t want to be wrong footed by questions any more.
  • When I have been successful in learning this, what will it be like?
  • What will I or others see me doing?
  • What will I sound like?
  • What will it feel like for me and for others?
  • What will the benefits of making these changes be, both for me and for others around me?

Is the end nigh? Life long learning...

Do we ever get to the end of learning something? With many skills, it is a matter of increasing our expertise as we go along and becoming more and more skilled in using particular skills, rather than reaching a point where everything is done and dusted.

If you go back to the Stages in learning model, you will realise that we need to be constantly reviewing what we do to ensure that we maintain our competence. If we don’t do this, we can become lax or arrogant and not realise that we have slipped into bad habits.