Mar 30, 2023

A different learning groove

Not all learning has to be confined within classroom walls or follow a rigid checklist. Often, the most valuable lessons emerge as we venture off the beaten path.

As someone who embraces “Experiential learning” – learning by doing and making mistakes – my approach differs from the traditional method of lectures, readings, and exercises. Instead, I set a goal and dive right into it.

To many, including my school and college teachers, this approach may seem time-consuming, messy, and full of inefficiencies. Yet, it has led me to where I am today. Despite barely finishing high school and dropping out of four colleges, I have taught myself everything from coding to team management to product development by promising and selling things I had no idea how to do and learning through the process.

This style of learning isn’t for everyone. Many prefer structured environments with clear guidelines and expectations, and that’s okay. They thrive on well-defined paths to success and safety nets for when they falter. In contrast, I flourish when left to figure things out on my own and take risks, embracing the uncertainty and messiness of the learning process as opportunities for growth and improvement.

While I acknowledge the value of traditional approaches for many, they often frustrate me. These methods typically focus on sequential steps and strict timelines, suggesting mastery is achieved by merely following a predetermined path, ignoring the importance of failure, detours, and alternatives

Moreover, one-size-fits-all training is lazy. It’s much easier to compile milestones, lectures, tutorials, or videos and wait for everything to be marked “done” rather than connecting with individuals to understand their skills, interests, learning processes, and creating personalized plans.

Does my approach involve cutting corners? Absolutely. By trimming non-actionable information, I can achieve results faster. Although they may not be perfect, accomplishments fuel the desire to explore and improve over time. While possibly taking longer than traditional routes, this journey is memorable and rewarding. That’s what you need.

Fortunately, many schools and universities nowadays recognize and accommodate diverse learning styles. However, not enough companies see this as an opportunity to boost employee engagement and growth.

Instead of creating the perfect all-in-one learning path, companies should consider individual needs first. Diversity and inclusion are also about embracing different learning styles and enabling success regardless of the chosen part.

It’s disheartening, as who wouldn’t want to have engaged employees with diverse approaches to problem-solving, innovation, and collaboration? –– And on the other hand, who wouldn’t want to work in an environment that values personal growth and encourages learning in one’s unique way? –– Embracing various learning styles fosters a more inclusive workplace and promotes creative thinking and adaptability, ultimately contributing to your success as a company.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash