One of the most encouraging trends in learning has been the continued expansion of practice as a part of learning. You can call it on-the-job training, hands-on learning, experiential learning, or anything else, but ultimately it is the art of learning by doing. It’s not exactly a new concept but advances in technology have made it easier to scale the use of practice and reinforcement within almost any learning journey. This shift is an important recognition of some truths that traditional learning does not adequately address:
- Learners need to learn how to learn and how to solve problems flexibly.
- These processes are critically important for working memory to succeed.
- Learners’ brains need to focus on learning experiences with dynamic spatial and temporal structures.
- Studies confirm that learners presented with neurocognitive-based learning show far better results with attention, working memory, and mood.
This is simply how the human brain learns. Cognitive learning focuses on more effective use of the brain. Cognition is the mental process of gaining knowledge and understanding through the senses, experience, and thought. Cognitive learning strategies encourage learners to reflect on the material and how to apply it to current and future situations. This develops improved problem-solving skills and critical thinking. It’s this learning through experience that makes practice so critical. Brandon Hall Group research finds that companies applying these cognitive and neuroscience learning principles are more like to say they are prepared for the future of work than those that do not.
Brandon Hall Group Smartchoice® Silver Preferred Provider Vertex Professional Services works with their client partners to imbue these concepts into the development and delivery of their learning. And they do it within some of the most high-stakes, complex environments in existence like aerospace, military, and defense. In these high-consequence industries, practice becomes critical because improper execution on the job can have immense consequences on the business, as well as the health and safety of employees. Giving people a safe place to hone their skills before they are faced with real scenarios is critical.
Together, Brandon Hall Group and Vertex Professional Services presented a webinar that looked at the benefits of learning by doing, the challenges of putting it in place, and strategies for moving forward. The recording can be found here.