What skills do learners need to learn?

This week’s post is written by Lesley Price (@lesleywprice).  Lesley is a co-founder of the #chat2lrn crew and now, although supposedly ‘semi-retired’, she works part-time for Learn Appeal  and continues to love challenging and being challenged! 

Those of us who work in learning tend to focus on our own skills and recognise that the skill set we require is changing. We know that even delivering high quality engaging face-to-face training or e-learning will not necessarily improve either performance of those we want to support or have a positive business impact.

Those we support very often focus on what skills they will need to be better in their roles or on the practical skills they need to acquire. Management ask us to deliver all kinds of training.  The list is endless and varied – leadership, project management, health and safety, compliance, performance support and so it goes on.

But how often do we think about the skills that are needed to learn? Do we ever actually spend time helping those we support to develop learning skills or do we assume that because everyone has been through the education system that they know how to learn?    We also know that some learners are more ‘successful’ than others in terms of academic ability or in their ability to learn practical skills.  But what makes them ‘better’?  Is it some inherent part of their character or are some people just better at learning that others?

There have been rapid advances in the use of technology to support learning. Not just in terms of the way it is used in the workplace, but also that if people want to know about almost anything, they can probably find it somewhere on the internet.   However there is also a lot of incorrect information out there which is at best ill-informed and at worst just a hoax. Do those that we support have the skills to be able to tell the difference?  Do they need to learn another skill set?

So my question is, what skills do you need to have to be a successful learner, can they be developed and if they can, how can we as learning professionals help learners learn?

Join in using the hashtag #chat2lrn and discuss these and other questions on 10 March, 2016, 08.00 PST/11.00 EST /16.00 GMT.

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