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Why Organizations Need to Make Learning Hard

We live in a fast-paced world, dependent upon instantaneous results. However, in the grand scheme of things—and for the sake of our long-term memory—this is not necessarily a great thing. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Dorothy Leonard explains why businesses need to make learning a challenge if they want people to retain any information.

Learn It and Retain It

It is easy to get swept up in the fast-paced learning environment, but unfortunately this does not often stick with the person. If you want people to remember what they have learned and be able to apply that to future problem-solving necessities, then learning should be a process. Studies have shown that people often suffer with “illusions of competence,” simply meaning that they believe they are more capable than they are. They think they can complete a future task successfully, because in the present they have done so. However, they are likely to have received a lot of assistance in this present task.

There are some ways of teaching that are conducive to long-term retention. One such way is to allow for people to have difficult tasks, and fail. By failing they can learn from their mistakes, and they will remember what scenarios to avoid in the future. Methods such as the “case method” are utilized in places like Harvard Business School. This method prompts students with a situation that lacks a clear answer. The students must critically think through and develop their own solution.

These methods utilized in the classroom can be manipulated to work well in the office with even greater payoffs. When done correctly, difficult lessons convey longer-lasting knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and help a person to understand company culture. If you are aiming to build a smarter workforce, there could be no smarter solution than to make workers sweat a little.

You can read the original article here: https://hbr.org/2015/11/why-organizations-need-to-make-learning-hard

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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