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Learning approaches glossary

Learning approaches consist of experiential, learning from others, and formal education methods.
Close up of businessman pointing at laptop screen with a pen in his hand, with an infographic off-screen with icons and the word 'Learning'

Read through the different types of learning approaches, and their examples, to prepare for the activity that follows.

Experiential learning

Experiential learning is often touted as the most effective way of learning due to its hands-on and real-world approach. It can include:

  • On-the-Job Training: Hands-on experiences in a current role.
  • Job Rotations: Switching roles temporarily to gain a broader understanding.
  • Intra-gigs: Opportunities to take on small projects outside an area of expertise.
  • Business Simulations: Mock scenarios replicating real business challenges.
  • Action Learning: Balancing the acquisition of new skills with solving tangible problems.
  • Real Business Challenges, or Internal Consulting: Using current organisational problems as avenues for learning and growth, such as stretch assignments or temporary role shifts.
  • Adventure Learning: Gaining cross-functional life and leadership skills by engaging in adventure activities outside the workplace.

Learning from others

This approach emphasises gaining insights from peers, leaders, customers, and even competitors. It can include:

  • Inside Out Learning: Sending leaders to other companies and industries to gain new perspectives and then bring back and share their learnings.
  • Socratic Learning: Engaging in dialogues based on questions and answers to encourage critical thinking and exploration of ideas.
  • Leaders as Teachers: Leveraging the experience of company executives or senior leaders as a teaching resource.
  • External Consultants and Subject Matter Experts: Inviting external experts to impart knowledge on specialised topics.
  • Embedded Customers: Incorporating customers into the program for their unique insights, either through full participation or panel discussions.
  • Peer Coaching: Professionals partnering up to share ideas, refine skills, and solve problems collaboratively.

Formal education opportunities

Structured and often classroom-based, these methods offer guided instruction and content. It can include:

  • Traditional Classroom Learning: Benefiting from structured content, face-to-face interactions, and real-time Q&A. To enhance this method, consider using tech tools like interactive polls or activities.
  • External Programs: utilising programs that already exist and are run by external providers.
  • E-learning Modules: Digital platforms that provide self-paced learning, refresh knowledge, and introduce concepts using online media.
  • Blended Learning: A mix of e-learning and classroom instruction, catering to different learning preferences.
  • Assessments: Utilising various tests to enhance self-awareness and interpersonal skills, ranging from psychological to behavioural evaluations.
  • Case Studies: Analysing real-world business scenarios from other organisations or industries to gain lessons and insights.
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