The Number One Way To Learn

In general, people are thought to learn in three ways: through observation, through reading, or through experience. Depending on what you’re trying to learn, any of the three methods could be number one. One method, however, has consistently proven to be undoubtedly the best—experience.

Each week we post a thought of the week on our company website. It’s always a motivational quote to give people something to think about throughout the week. One quote that draws attention is from James Joyce. “Errors are the portals of discovery.”

Some people may have missed the whole message because they didn’t pay enough attention to the image that accompanied the saying. It turned out to be as thoughtful as the line itself. Below Mr. Joyce’s words, a picture showed a forklift truck having pulled off a loading dock. What many people may miss is the cargo being transported by the forklift — a rocket lying precariously in a broken crate.

This forklift driver could have read manual after manual to learn how to operate the forklift safely. He or she may also have watched video after video designed to show them how to maneuver and operate the forklift without incident. It is doubtful, however, that any lesson had as great an impact or will live in his memory as it did on the day the forklift pulled off the end of the dock.

When people invest in their people, they invest in the only asset of the organization that is valued. Equipment depreciates, inventory bears the cost of storage, and even if the property appreciates in value, there’s no way to capitalize on the gain without costly refinancing.

Fortune 500 companies have recognized the importance of developing their employees through training programs. Many people have discovered for themselves the need to invest in themselves to expand and upgrade their skills. However, as with any investment, research shows that there is a right way and a wrong way to make the investment.

Safety videos, textbooks, manuals, online training courses and other forms of training alone do not bring a return on investment. On the other hand, statistics show that experiential learning has a 42:1 return on investment.

No matter what lesson you want to teach someone, it is possible to find a teaching method that allows for experiential learning. Sometimes it takes creativity. However, my experience is that one method is always available. Take the forklift driver, for example. We wouldn’t think of handing a teenager the car keys without first learning to drive on a test track or a lonely road. However, the normal training for forklift drivers is usually only done by video and manually. What if the forklift driver was first asked to experience empty crates in a remote corner of the warehouse? Maybe even test scenarios, like a stack of empty crates on a pallet that’s too tall for the bin it needs to occupy.

For maximum results, you should review your training programs to constantly increase the level of hands-on personal experience to provide the best learning with the highest return on investment.


Thanks to Rick Weaver | #Number #Learn

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