We learn best when we do. We learn best when we get instant feedback. We learn best, and benefit most when we introduce small changes to the way we live and work. We learn for life when acting on these small changes – consistently – becomes effortless muscle memory. The fascinating science of behaviors and habits makes this super easy: especially in a frenetic world where we need to learn so much, so often. How do you build this muscle memory?
In her session at People Matters L&D Conference 2020, Shreyasi Singh, Founder & CEO, Harappa Education shared easy-to-apply principles to make tiny behaviors and good habits your learning superpower too.
As learning custodians, L&D leaders need to reflect on how they learn themselves in order to champion learning fast and learning lots of things. Sharing from her personal journey, Shreyasi shared that what enabled her to navigate the messy zigzags of career and ditch the traditional ladder approach was optimism. Optimism is also the first important ingredient for learnability just as it for entrepreneurship. And entrepreneurship is all about motivating people to learn all the time. Optimism is the self-belief that will enable us to learn a lot in a short period of time in a condensed form.
Learning is not about knowledge but actions
As custodians of learning, what one needs to understand is that learning in our careers is not about knowledge, it's about actions. We can’t be passive about learning, we have to do. None of us have the choice of not to do anything as we learn to power our teams and careers. And action is what each of us has to be responsible for individually.
Shreyasi advocates that action is to be broken down into tiny behaviors that you do every day and the good habits you build over time. This is why tiny behaviors and good habits is a simple powerful framework to achieve this. You have to break down this massive and sort of ambiguous objective of learning into one single thing that you can do in a day to build effortless muscle memory so that it becomes a subconscious effort over time.
Hence learning consists of learning new behaviors, reinforcing them, contextualizing them, and applying them to work.
Building blocks of the learning journey
As learning champions, leaders need to role model learning more than anyone else and cannot be the most enthusiastic about learning. So the individual responsibility of learning on leaders is high.
So what are the ingredients that tell you that you are on the way to learning? Shreyasi believes that the building blocks that make up the art and science of learning can be broken down into three simple ones. The first one is your skill- what is your proficiency in doing something? Second is the effort you put in-or in other words, your commitment to building that skill? Thirdly, what’s important is the confidence or the ability to overcome barriers in the way to learning.
The learning toolkit
Sharing more about handy toolkits for learning, Shreyasi stated that we need to curate different formats for learning as everyone learns differently; hence the key is to experiment and decide on the format instead of taking a mon-format approach.
Also, as learning champions, leaders need to be patient; they need to shape attitudes and behaviors and break down the learning journey into consistent small wins in order to motivate the learners to keep going.
Ultimately, leaders need to understand that the biggest innovation in learning is not data but instilling motivation. Hence leaders should not assume motivation but rather engineer it by helping teams realize why the learning matters for them and their careers. Remember, the first 25% of the learning journey is expected to be the hardest!