I do not learn by any one method, instead my learning takes place using many different forms. As I grow both personally and professionally, I realize that my experiences form a large part of my learning patterns. I now draw on positive incidents, events and solutions from the past to guide me towards my goals. On the other hand, those experiences that were negative I can still use as a cautionary tale. Another way I learn is by making associations. I am able to link things together to form a picture or to problem solve. Context clues are the key factors in my ability to make associations. Knowing why, who, what, where, when and how helps to piece things together to form the whole.
I am an avid reader. It is my favourite pastime and an escape. However, it also plays a large part in my learning process. I am able to discover, confirm, and refute information through reading. Although I love to spend time alone with a book, I also enjoy spending time with others interacting. This is the social aspect of my learning process. I learn just by being with other people especially within a multicultural context.
There is a common saying, “practice makes perfect”. I have discovered that another form of learning for me is by doing things or practicing. Doing hands on exercises emphasizes the learning point. It becomes applied knowledge. Another factor linked to practicing is repetition. The more you do something, the more you remember and become better at it. So, how do I learn? My learning entails many different forms such as experiential learning; making associations; using context clues; reading; interacting with others; repetition and practice (hands on exercises).
My paternal grandmother was a teacher. She had a large influence on me and has left an indelible mark on my views and training methods. Some of the beliefs I garnered from her include the thought that teaching is an investment in others and so an investment in communities and society as a whole. It is a developmental tool that acts as a vehicle for upward mobility and success.
My beliefs and my own ways of learning have impacted how I in turn help others learn. The environment must be welcoming, comfortable, conducive to learning as well as engaging with both the facilitator and other learners. I strive to present material/information that is interesting, thought provoking yet simple and is repeated in different ways. By helping the learner to understand the “why” of the outcome helps with the path from inception to utilization. When someone understands why something is being done a specific way, it helps with the practical aspect of the learning exercise.
My aim and objective in the training process is to provide the tools and “know how” to accomplish a task, accomplish a goal, perform better on the job or improve knowledge, skills and abilities. The preferred outcome is for the learner to apply or transfer what was learned immediately to the job. When a learner has the required tools, confidence; mastery; purpose and motivation are the end results. Training is the vehicle that propels someone to another level in both professional and personal life. The people resources of an organization are the bedrock of its success so when someone can contribute to an organization’s strategic objectives, productivity, growth and overall success then the benefit supersedes the cost.
I chose training and development as a career choice because of altruistic reasons – satisfaction in helping someone which also speaks to my values. The action and reward is immediate. I take pleasure in knowing that I have contributed to a person’s development and success. I believe that education can be a liberating tool which can help with social, economic and personal barriers. I am always trying to improve my knowledge, skills and abilities so the notion of continuing education whether formal or informal is very important to me. When I train, I also train myself through preparing the material or activity, thinking through the process then imparting the knowledge. I strive to help others improve themselves which in turn improves the organization and the community.
I strive to get better and improve my practice. I am concerned with offering value at my sessions meaning that I would be affected if the learners thought my session was a waste of time. At the end of each session, I reflect on what worked, did not work and if needed I try to improve the presentation or the content. I also rely on the reaction of the learners to offer feedback on what they liked or did not like. Evaluating the effectiveness of each session offers direct guidance on improvement with an immediate effect in offering value.