Discover more about how to learn at work

Discover more about
how to learn at work
Your Guide to
Learning in the Workplace
practices of workplace learning.
This guide explains the principles and
very best from the many learning
Its purpose is to enable you to get the
udes plenty of links (all red and circled
opportunities that arise at work. It incl
tion about each learning method,
text) where you will find further informa
s. The guide is for everyone – we all
including lots of ‘how to’ tips and hint
uld benefit from being more open,
have more to learn, and most of us wo
n.
flexible and creative around how we lear
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1
Discover more about ho
w to learn at work – chec
k out key principles or
go straight to practical m
ethods by using the icons
below and to the right.
1
Introduction: What is learning in
the workplace?
3
How to identify just what you nee
d to learn
3
4
Practical ways to learn at work
a) Methods and techniq
ues
Learning through work
Learning by doing
Reflective practice
Learning from change
•
•
•
•
5
Learning through othe
rs
Observation and
shadowing
Feedback
Coaching
Mentoring
5
Learning with technolo
gy
Online resources
Smarter searching
Social media & mobile
learning
Learning by reading
Books and articles
Study skills
b) Materials and resource
s
Virtual Ashridge
GoodPractice
Civil Service Learning
Resources
•
•
•
c) Learning journeys:
Examples of learning at
work in action
your learning oppo
resources
rther reading and
Fu
•
Learning with others
Action learning
Team learning
Networking
Volunteering
Making the most of
7
2
How to seize learning opportunities
4
2
rtunities
What to do next?
6
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7
1. Introduction
1
What is workplace learning? Unsurprisingly, it is learning that takes place where you work.
However, there is more to it than first meets the eye. It is essentially
self-directed learning.
In other words, you are in the driving seat; you ‘pull’ the
learning you need, when you need it rather than it being
pushed upon you.
However you are not on your own. It is also manager
supported. This means your line manager is there to help
– to advise, coach, guide and encourage.
You
are
in the
eat
driving s
Lastly, it is informal and applies to all people whatever their level of experience.
Rather than being covered solely in e-learning or a course, the aim is for it to blend
in with your working life.
It is an approach adopted by many leading organisations (ref. IBM story,
Cafe culture case studies) and is well supported by research (ref. Institute of
Employment Studies, Books and Articles).
“Information is pretty thin stuff unless
mixed with experience”
Clarence Day - Esteemed American Author
Don’t we learn at work already?
A lot of learning happens naturally in the workplace.
•
You ask a colleague a question.
•
You observe someone more experienced.
•
You stumble across a web site with really useful information.
•
You get feedback from your boss.
•
You try something that’s new.
•
You get a useful tip over lunch from a friend.
When the above happens well, it provides some excellent learning.
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Unfortunately, we are not always that good at making it happen regularly and using
it to get the best learning for ourselves - just when we need it.
Some of us are more used to being guided by others rather than taking the
initiative for ourselves, so whilst opportunities exist we sometimes are so focused
on the task at hand that we forget to extract the learning from our experiences.
At worst we can stay in our comfort zone, having the same thoughts
and behaviours we’ve always had, and fail to motivate ourselves to
continuously improve.
At best we can recognise that the very heart of learning in a work context is about
being willing and able to do something new or better.
above all
“We must have perseverance and
confidence in ourselves.
ted for something
We must believe that we are gif
ained.”
and that this thing must be att
Marie Curie –
ze winner.
physicist, chemist & Nobel Pri
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1
1
What is in it for me?
Most of the research suggests that those who are self-directed in their learning
tend to perform better, are more interested in their work and their colleagues, are
more motivated, are more successful and are happier.
Some people do enjoy learning for its own sake, but even those people can
probably think of a time when learning has been difficult, even painful. So it won’t
always be easy. Ironically, some of the toughest things we take on are also the
most rewarding, either from the sense of achievement or mastery, or from the
indirect benefits we get from being better at our jobs.
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Page: 4
1
Does this mean I won’t get formal training?
No. Formal training still has its place in the Civil Service.
But, workplace learning means you can learn so much more - and really learn and
master it, not just read about it in a book or from a presentation.
For example, in the area of leadership, you cannot learn to be a leader just by going
on a course.
•
You might benefit from some reading in advance, or where appropriate maybe
some supported 360° feedback, or from observing a leader you admire.
•
Maybe after attending a course you could try out the ideas or techniques
learnt, and get feedback from a trusted colleague.
•
Perhaps you want to stretch yourself into taking the lead in addressing
something tricky, perhaps where you usually have less formal responsibility.
•
Continue to build your capability as a leader - one who learns, turns that
learning into successful leadership, and goes on to help others to learn.
“The least of the work of learning
is done in the classroom.”
Thomas Merton – Trappist Monk
What should I do next?
•
Read through this guide and understand more about learning in
the workplace.
•
Check out the support materials and examples by searching
Learning Resources on the Civil Service
Learning website.
•
Explore the useful external links to
further resources available on the internet
referenced in this guide.
•
Browse through the many excellent
resources available at Virtual Ashridge and
GoodPractice - link to them both from the
Civil Service Learning website.
“The purpose of
learning is growth,
and our minds,
unlike our bodies, can
continue growing as
we continue to live.”
Mortimer Adler –
Philosopher
Page: 5
How to identify just what
2. you need to learn
2
There are three main ways that you can identify what you need to learn, and all of
them are within reach. However, each of us has developed our own biases and
preferences and that can mean that we rely on one approach more than the others.
When you use more than one approach you get a more balanced understanding of
your real needs.
Three ways to identify what you need to learn:
Self awareness
1
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You realise you don’t know something or can’t do something
(sometimes people call this self-diagnostics) - at first glance that may
seem too obvious to mention but in fact there can be more to it than
first meets the eye. To do this well:
•
Think ahead to what tasks and challenges you will be facing
in your role over the next 6-12 months and appraise honestly
whether you have all the knowledge and skills you need. For some
tasks it is better to learn what you need in advance rather than
along the way. For instance, it is better to know how to manage
performance rather than have your staff leave whilst you are
learning from your mistakes.
•
Focus on any areas of weakness; the ones that might really impair
your performance. Address these weaknesses as a priority.
•
Remember to also focus on your strengths. Once you have tackled
the critical weaknesses, stop thinking about learning as something
remedial, something to fix a problem, and start thinking about how
it can also help you to exploit your talents. It is natural for many
people to think about their deficiencies and how to overcome
them, but great performers also understand their strengths, and
areas of special expertise, and make a point of building upon them
to improve further. Going on to engage with others to share this
knowledge and expertise enables people to benefit from your
strengths. It encourages them to learn from you and to go on to
improve for themselves.
•
Think broadly about your needs. Think about your personal skills,
the knowledge and skills you need in your current role and how
they may change over the next few years, skills related to your
profession, technological skills, the wider understanding of the
Civil Service, the Public Service or beyond, and the knowledge and
expertise you need to provide a great service to the public.
The advice of others
2
Getting feedback, suggestions and direction from others you work with.
To do this well:
•
Involve your line manager. It is part of their role to help you with
your development and that includes helping you think through your
needs and giving their input. This relationship changes in character
a little the more senior you get, but that fundamental principle
holds true at all levels.
•
Seek out trusted colleagues. They can be a great source of
inspiration, ideas and feedback. This is not about acting on
every suggestion they put forward, but it is about giving due
consideration to what they can offer you, especially when it is
something you might not have considered yourself.
•
Consider getting a mentor or a coach (see further in this guide for
detail). They will be able to use their experience and skills to help
you consider your options and priorities.
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Using various tools
3
You will no doubt have certain processes in your organisation – such
as having future development plans (often called Personal Development
Plans) – which you will need to comply with. Try not to see these
processes as hoops you need to jump through, try to use them to
support you in identifying and recording your precise needs.
Think about the skills you’d like to develop and plan the action you
can take to further improve. These thoughts can easily be reflected in
your future development plan and can help focus on what you need
to do next.
Also consider things like 360° feedback information (where your
Department supports this) or the results of any psychometric tests,
diagnostic questionnaires, or self assessments.
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2
How to seize learning
3. opportunities
There are many ways to learn informally: talking, observing others, trial-and-error,
and simply working with people in the know and being guided by those with
practical experience. Having a chat with a colleague about a different way to do
something and then implementing it, is learning. Passing that knowledge on to
others helps you understand what worked really well and is
a great way for you to make sure you realise what exactly
you learnt.
3
“One must learn by doing the thing.
For though you think you know it,
.”
you have no certainty until you try
- Sophocles
Just remember, we all have our own ways of learning that work for us but it’s
worth experimenting and trying different ways as well. You can find out more about
learning styles and preferences here but do also think about how you can add new
ways of learning to your toolbox.
One of the most fundamental and valuable things we can learn is actually how to
learn. We can all learn and we do it daily. But many of us don’t think about it as a
skill. We tend to assume that learning is just something we do naturally, and that is
true to some extent.
However, we have all learnt various habits around learning; some helpful, others
not. By understanding more about the learning process – the physical things that
help us learn and the thinking process that fixes it in our brains – the more we can
play to our strengths, to challenge those habits that no longer work for us and to
try out new techniques that might just help us
learn in ways we had not considered before.
For more on learning and how to learn, check
out the following for more information: Learning
– Its All In The Mind
The next part of this guide provides examples of
learning options for you to consider. Once you
start exploring the options you may discover
new ways in which we can all learn. This could
help you to understand your own style more and
may give you further insight in to what makes
others tick too!
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We all have our own
ways of learning
that work for us but
it’s worth experimenting
and trying different
ways as well - they may
be even more effective!
Practical ways to
4. learn at work
a) Methods and techniques
•
Learning through work
Only 10% of what we
learn at work comes
through formal training
.
Learning by doing
We learn at work all the time. Mostly we learn informally
through experience and from colleagues*. Formal
learning—courses, classes, and workshops—accounts for
only 10% of what people learn at work. The remainder
takes place through what we can call “on the job
learning” – 20% through communicating with others and
70% through experience. Many of us have learnt more
about doing our job well as we do it and training courses
or manuals can not replace experience and practise. Maybe you’ve experienced
yourself how learning from a mistake or receiving praise for work well done often
inspires people to go on and learn more about a subject or area of work.
what
“Experience is not
happens to you,
but what you make of
”
what happens to you.
Aldous Huxley –
rld
author Brave New Wo
Reflective practice
There are always opportunities
to develop ourselves as we go
about our daily work- from asking
a colleague to help you understand
certain processes and then sharing
them with others - to becoming
involved in specific projects that
require your current skills but also
allow you to develop new ones.
Reflective practice is about being able to think back on what you have done and
what happened as a result, for you and for other people. It sounds simple, maybe
almost too easy but it can be a powerful way to learn. Essentially you answer
some key questions designed to make you think about the impact of what you
did, or maybe didn’t do. Reflective practice can be an important tool in practicebased professional learning where individuals learning from their own professional
experiences, rather than from formal teaching or knowledge transfer, and is an
important source of personal development and improvement.
*(Source: Career Architect Development Planner – 1st Edition by Michael Lombardo &
Robert Eichinger 1996)
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9
4
The concept of reflective practice centres on the idea of life-long learning where
a learner thinks back on experiences in a systematic way in order to learn from
them. Part of learning is thinking about the experience and simply asking yourself
“what worked for you?” and “what would make it better next time.” Later in this
guide there are suggested questions you may like to ask yourself along with your
manager.
You may also be familiar with blogging, which some see as another form of
reflection on experience. Writing about your experiences and in this case your
learning experiences, you are more likely to reflect on what you have learnt and
how it impacts on your work. Another example of how this can work is keeping a
Learning Journal.
4
Learning from change
Whilst change might bring uncertainty, it also brings new opportunities and
scope for learning. It is a powerful driver for learning because everyone needs to
understand the new situation and learn new skills and behaviours to ensure they
can operate successfully in the new world.
“My biggest motivation? Just
I see life almost like one
that I never had... every day
Richard Branson
to keep challenging myself.
long University education
I’m learning something new.”
– Entrepreneur
Learning from change comes in many forms. It can be internal: helping you learn
about yourself, your reactions to change and your skills in working with change.
It can be external: try looking outwards using techniques like benchmarking and
modelling best practices to learn from what happens in other organisations.
It can cover practical learning that supports incremental change but, perhaps
most crucially, is the importance of learning about managing major changes or
fundamental transformational changes.
One of the most common ways of delivering change is through projects. These
give great opportunities for people to expand their skills and to learn by working
with different colleagues. Past projects are also a source of lessons learnt
particularly where there has been an After Action Review.
When thinking about change we tend to focus on the future and the many
transformations we can anticipate. Seldom do we take the time to look back at the
many changes which we have already experienced. Should you ever be concerned
Page: 10
with your ability to cope with future changes, pause to reflect on the many changes
you’ve managed to deal with in your past. Having dealt successfully with so many
previous issues, we often take them for granted and totally forget how they once
loomed before us as impossible obstacles to overcome.
“So when you are faced with change it’s not time to run it’s time to learn!” Robin Sharma – Global Leadership Consultant
Learning before,
during and after
•
Learn your way
through change
Ashridge - A learning
Organisation
4
Learning through others
Observation
Being a great role model to colleagues who
observe you every day most certainly goes on
to influence how they behave and what they
learn from your behaviour.
Learning from colleagues is an important
source of obtaining and sharing
knowledge in organisations. Research
has shown that informal, social interactions with colleagues are strong ways of
learning. Observing a colleague complete a task or interaction successfully and
understanding the approach they chose to take, then mirroring it and achieving our
own success is a good example of learning through others.
You could also consider spending time ‘shadowing’ a colleague to gain an
understanding of their role and the way they work. This is usually for no more than
a day and could help to enhance career development, deepen understanding of the
workplace, and contribute to improved communications.
Gaining further insight into how others work and the impact they have on those
around them can be an invaluable resource.
Remember, the influence we have from just “doing” something in a certain
way with a particular attitude can be far reaching. Being a great role
model to colleagues who observe you every day most certainly goes Social Learning
on to influence how they behave and what they learn from
Theory
your behaviour.
Role Models in
Workplace Learning
Feedback
Feedback is a way of giving and receiving helpful information about how you come
across to others and how your actions impact others. It is also a way to measure
how your actual performance matches with how well you think you are doing. The
ability to give feedback to others, in a way that will help improve their performance
and behaviour, is an important skill for anyone who works with others.
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Actively seeking out feedback from others is an important aspect of managing
your own learning. Start by picking people you know and trust but over time
try selecting different types of people. Make sure you keep an
open mind, ask questions for clarification and give balance in your
Feedba
ck
R
reflections to both constructive criticisms and praise.
esourc
es
Coaching
4
Coaching is usually a one-to-one (coach to coachee)
mix of support and questioning providing a safe
environment for you to think about what you do,
how you do it and why you do it the way you do.
Coaching can
“Coaches do not
develop people;
they equip people to
develop themselves.”
Gebelein, et al.
Successful Manager’s
Handbook
•
help you develop a greater understanding
of yourself;
•
help when tackling major choices or seemingly
insurmountable dilemmas;
•
help you build practical skills;
•
help you reflect on past events and think about the future.
Coaching can be as simple and inclusive as “the process of empowering others”
(Whitmore 1997), or more definitively it’s the act of guiding an individual and
enabling learning to occur that ultimately improves performance.
The structure and methodologies of coaching are numerous but are predominantly
facilitative in style. The coach asks questions and challenges the coachee, enabling
them to explore their own resources and solutions for moving forward.
The recognised benefit of coaching to the individual and the business is the
facilitation of self-directed learning and the ability of the individual to recognise
what they need to do next to achieve their goals.
Ask your Department about their arrangements for supporting coaching.
performance.
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own
2004)
It is helping them learn rather than teaching them” (Whitmore, J,
For further understanding on the role of coaching in the
work place:
Key Differences
Between Coaching
and Mentoring
Page: 12
The Manager as
Developer
Coaching: Grow
your People
Enabling Success:
Coaching
Cipd Coaching
Fact Sheet
Mentoring
Mentoring has been defined as “A process in
which one person, the mentor, is responsible
for overseeing the career and development
of another person outside the normal
manager/worker relationship” - Civil Service
Mentoring Guide.
Mentoring Toolkit
What is
Mentoring?
The essence of mentoring recognises the
value of learning from each other. We all
use other people to help and support us
in our day-to-day lives, usually people
whose opinions we value because of their
experience.
Coach, Me
ntor,
Or Buddy?
Sample of
Mentoring Contr
act
4
This can also be applied in the workplace by using experienced people to “mentor”
others and help them to achieve their full potential.
The mentoring process involves an individual outside the line management
structure with greater experience in one or more areas exchanging knowledge with
another through a relationship of mutual influence and learning.
•
Learning with others
Action Learning
The essence of mentoring recognises
the value of learning from each other
Action Learning Sets (ALS) are based on
the underlying principle of learning by doing and operate
on the basis of a proven cycle of learning.
A set consists of a small group of no more than 6-8 participants who meet regularly
and frequently to discuss and share current challenges and difficult issues. It is an
opportunity for each member to bring their own problem for action learning, often
one that links back to their current job or personal development plan.
The set can discuss, offer support, share experience, and suggest action to
address the issues once back at work.
Often, it is possible for everyone to choose an issue relating to a common
theme, such as managing change, addressing poor performance or encouraging
innovation. Members meet to discuss the progress of action taken and offer insight
and suggestions on related issues, maximising the opportunities to learn from each
other and increase each others knowledge.
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An Action Learning Sets fact sheet has been produced by Cipd, and further ALS
Guidance, is provided to help you understand more. There are also handbooks
available via Ashridge (HL) to help you – Action Learning Handbook and Learning
with Colleagues.
Team learning
4
Team learning is how we can learn collectively with colleagues to achieve common
objectives as a group. In a successful team, members tend to share knowledge
and often complement each other’s skills. In less productive teams there is often
low commitment from team members to work together effectively meaning any
effort to learn together is unlikely to be successful.
Virtually all important decisions at work are made by groups of people sharing their
experiences and knowledge with each other. Discussing with others what we have
learnt by “doing” or through research forms the basis for the
decisions we then make. Its not often we make big decisions
Team Learning
without
consulting and gaining insight from others!
Resources
Networking
Some think about networking as feeling pressured into having an
View Three
awkward conversation with a stranger while wondering who to
Great Ways To
go and speak to next. But try to think about it differently – as a
Link Up Today!
tool to make sure you know who to ask if you’ve got a question
a little out of the ordinary. Keeping in touch with old colleagues and making a point
of keeping up with your professional contacts, for instance, are two good ways
to make sure that you’ve got someone to call on when you need a tricky bit of
information fast. It’s essentially about establishing friendly and useful relationships
in advance, and about
remembering to do your
Virtually all important decisions at work
bit. What you get is
their
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shari
e
peopl
of
s
group
by
made
are
greater collaboration and
experiences and knowledge with each other.
the potential for sharing
of skills and experience.
Volunteering
Volunteering is simple. It’s about giving your time to do something useful, to
help others, to share your knowledge and skills, and gain some new ones too!
Volunteering can be extremely rewarding, opening up opportunities to learn and
develop, building your confidence, making you feel good and improving your job
prospects. It can give you the satisfaction of time and effort well spent, along with
meeting new people and gaining useful experience. The range of opportunities is
huge. Whatever skills and experience you have, there is something that you can do.
Page: 14
Greater support on the role of civil servants in volunteering is now shown by:
•
providing civil servants with opportunities to use their skills to support civil
society organisations;
•
using volunteering as a means of learning and professional development, both
in terms of gaining new skills and new experiences and acknowledging the
benefits back in the workplace.
Many government departments already offer their
employees the opportunity to use at least one day of
special leave to volunteer and have programmes in place
supporting opportunities. Check with your department
for information on how you can get involved, or visit the
link below for more information.
How Can I Find Out More?
•
“The trouble with
learning from
experience is that
you never graduate.”
Doug Larsen –
American journalist
Learning with technology
Online resources
Online resources within Civil Service Learning provide guidance materials; aide
memoires; toolkits; pocket books and reference documents, stored in a way that
users are able to easily access. These resources complement the more formal
learning and provide additional and associated reading and support. They are also
extremely useful as stand alone products that can be referred to as needed or for
bite size learning. Often they have practical suggestions/examples and contain case
studies and self assessment exercises.
The link below provides suggestions for existing online resources and the ways
in which users are now able to “bookmark” them to collect, store, and share with
others.
Online Resources and Social Bookmarking
aide memoires;
Civil Service Learning online resources provide guidance materials;
at work.
toolkits; pocket books; and reference documents to support you
Page: 15
4
Smarter searching
Users of the web know that the basic job of a search engine is to provide a list of
links to websites that will contain the information being sought.
There are ways however to allow a search to be more efficient and increase the
chances of finding what you are looking for. Take a look for yourself: Key Search
Guides and Top Tips
Social media
4
Social media, or social collaboration and learning, can bring flexibility and ease of
communication across teams. The potential for collaboration on projects is huge.
It means workers who work flexible hours from a mix of office, home and from
remote sites can do so without feeling out of the conversation. It can support
networking across remote groups and enable those who might not otherwise have
an opportunity to meet to have a conversation. Social media tools can help workers
achieve more, get better work done, learn more in less time, and share information
of mutual interest*. For any organisation moving away from relying on formal
learning, and exploring social media to facilitate informal learning is a massive shift
and for many it is the way of the future.
Additionally, the emergence
and rapidly expanding world
iki
of mobile learning (or
Civil W
M-Learning) due to the vast
Civi
l
Serv
ice
and
array of mobile devices
What is Social
The Role of Social
- including handheld
Media?
Media
computers, MP3 players,
notebooks and smart
Read more about social media
phones - brings learning
tools supporting us at work and how
directly to us without the
we can use them as civil servants.
restriction of location. Due
to its accessibility it can
take place anywhere and at any time. It not only allows the user to access what
they need when they need it – for example with e-learning, pod casts, applications
(apps) – it also allows others to create “on the spot” or “in the field” instruction
and learning material that can be shared immediately.
* certain restrictions may apply in some organisations
Page: 16
•
Learning by reading
Books and articles
You may have read this guide from cover to cover, or simply dipped in to find key
documents relevant to you. Either way you have hopefully benefited from reading
something new or helpful.
The next step is applying what you have learnt to enhance the way you or your
colleagues work, and understand the connection of what you have read with your
work environment.
There are many books and articles to support workplace learning and also extensive
libraries of material that can help us increase our knowledge, all at our fingertips, and
much of it is free. A word of caution though – remember not everything you read on
external internet sites is reliable or researched. Try searching for, and reading, more
than one article on a subject to give you a wider view.
Here are just four examples of websites that are a great starting point to finding
what you need:
WikiBooks
Bookboon
WikiVersity
Google Scholar
Study skills
Some of us have a wealth of study experience. Some of us even thrive on
continually working for a qualification, or formal accreditation, whether work related
or of personal interest. However, for a lot of us formal studying may be something
we haven’t done in a while or we may not have had the opportunity to do it at all
since school. But there are lots of resources out there to get you started, support
you, and keep you motivated.
Simply typing “study skills” into an internet search engine (for example Google see previous hints & tips) and you’ll access many sites with advice on how to study
effectively, and practical hints and tips to get the most from your learning, including
how to find a method of studying that works for you. It may sound daunting if
you’re new to studying but please do give it a go – the time you spend initially
finding out just a little bit more about how to study and learn will save you lots of
time and effort down the line.
Page: 17
4
b)Materials and resources
Whether you have attended face to face learning in a classroom and need further
direction on putting it into practice, or you’re simply exploring what resources are
available to support your development in work, there are plenty of guides and
toolkits to give you ideas and inspiration on getting the most from your learning
experience.
4
Virtual Ashridge and GoodPractice provide us with access to some of the most
useful and practical handbooks, toolkits, and self assessment resources available
anywhere. Here you can access specific work based learning guides to support you
to develop yourself, and others, at work, along with many other leadership, self
development, and people management resources.
•
Virtual Ashridge gives access to the research and expertise of
Ashridge Business School. It provides learning resources in a range
of formats to suit individual learning styles. This includes text-based
resources, videos and audio and comes in the form of learning
guides, pocketbooks, book reviews, knowledge maps, essays on
hot topics and much more. Topics featured include leadership, performance
management, people and organisational skills and many of the challenges
faced by people working in modern organisations. To start with take a look at
these two Ashridge handbooks:
•
The handbook of
work based learning
Develop Yourself
GoodPractice offers a rich mix of resources you can download to
read or use with others. Topics cover the full gamut of issues faced
by individual employees, at junior levels through to senior leaders.
Topics such as change management, financial management
and strategy are there, alongside interpersonal skills and people
management. These come in the form of top tips, case studies,
self-assessment tools and articles.
Along with the selection of CS Learning’s own materials, these two industryleading resource pools provide you with the information, inspiration and tools to
drive forward your performance as well as that of your team and your organisation.
c)Learning journeys:
Examples of Learning at Work in Action
* certain restrictions may apply in some organisations
Page: 18
Making the most of your
5. learning opportunities
Part of learning is thinking about what worked for you and what you might want
to do differently next time. Having explored some of the different methods of
accessing work place learning, the key now is discovering what makes the learning
really come alive for you so you get as much out of it as you possibly can. You can
use the list of questions below as a starting point to think about what worked well
and how learning can be even better next time. Whether you do this on your own,
or with your manager, it will be almost impossible for you to not come up with
ideas for how to make sure learning activities work for you – do give it a go!
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Page: 19
5
Sometimes, checking the benefits of your learning will be as simple as an
informal discussion with your line manager. Or you may be asked to demonstrate
the impact of your learning in terms of behaviour change and performance
improvement. Reading the Campaign for Learning guide Becoming a Better
Learner may help you further with practical suggestions on applying and evaluating
your learning. It also contains guidance on how to continually improve your learning
capabilities.
An example of a more structured way to consider the benefits of your learning
experience is with an After Action Review (AAR). This is a technique used to
explore more deeply what went well and what could have been done differently.
It is an extremely useful performance improvement tool that encourages all
stakeholders to share and learn in order to have continuous improvement. It is
particularly effective following a major learning event or project based experience.
5
Your role as an individual in making the most of learning
There is growing evidence that people who take the initiative in their learning, learn
more, and learn better than those who don’t. It can also allow the individual to learn
more deeply and retain the knowledge.
Being empowered to take responsibility for your own learning can increase your
self-esteem and allow more responsibility for other decisions associated with the
learning experience.
“We must learn from everything we do; we must exploit
every experience as a learning experience.
Every institution and every person we have access
to becomes a resource. It is a lifelong process.”
Malcolm Knowles, Adult Educator
So how do you take the lead in learning?
Remember, as we’ve already mentioned, it’s a self awareness of your own abilities
and gaps in knowledge that allows you to plan what action you can take to develop
yourself further. Advice and feedback from others, along with the numerous self
diagnostic tools available (and referenced in this guide), can help identify the
appropriate type of learning for you and when best to use it.
Page: 20
Being actively involved in your own learning enables you
•
to reflect on your experiences and consider the impact it has made;
•
to be more involved in planning how you learn rather than just passively
receiving information;
•
to discover for yourself your preferred style of learning and make the most of
the experience, re-enforcing the positive impact and desire to improve.
Your role if you are a manager or leader
It can be useful to lead by example, and do that openly so you are seen as a role
model. The more you feel able to share some of your learning goals and activities
with others, the more impact you will have on their learning journeys.
People always respect someone who ‘walks the walk’. When your team see you
set yourself learning goals and devote time and energy to becoming better at
something you will inspire them to do the same, driving up performance across
your team.
In addition you have the added responsibility of helping others learn and improve.
This means that you
•
will have to help them diagnose their strengths, weaknesses and
development needs;
•
offer guidance and feedback;
•
need to support and challenge them;
•
may need to be a coach, but often it will be about you helping them to be
self-sufficient;
•
may need to help them give some balance to the needs of the job, the team
and the business, as well as their personal skills and longer term career
aspirations.
You too will have a personal and development agenda and again, you also have a
responsibility for making sure others in your wider team and in your organisation
support and encourage learning. When you talk to others about learning, do make
it your job to find out if they are aware of all the ways there are to learn on the
job. Talk to them about all the potential benefits for themselves, their colleagues
and the business and about the support they can get from Civil Service Learning’s
website. If you also make sure they have this guide and The Manager as Developer
toolkit (mentioned above) then you have made a very good start.
Page: 21
5
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Page: 22
Manager as
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Evaluation of
Learning at Work
6. What to do next?
Be proactive and discover for yourself what you can do to help your own
development, in a way that works for you…
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Page: 23
6
Further reading and
7. resources
What is learning, how do we acquire it, and how can we put it into practice?
There are many definitions of learning. The Institute of Training & Occupational
Learning definition is one of the broader ones:
“Learning is the acquisition or development of knowledge or understanding, skills
or abilities, emotional competence (eg confidence) or attitudinal change.”
A vast amount of academia, research, articles, and practical examples have been
published that support the positive impact of learning whilst working and it would
be impossible to include them all in this guide. However CS Learning hopes that
through this guide you have gained more of an understanding of what constitutes
learning and what you can do to take control to continue your own development in
a practical and rewarding way - a way that works for you, in your role, to enhance
your ability to be a success at work.
7
To explore further how adults learn and more specifically how they learn in the
workplace you may like to research for yourself what else is available to enhance
what you have already read in this guide.
To get you started here are some additional resources to inspire you to read more,
learn more, and experience more!
NAICE research
The Four Stages
of Learning
Adult Learning
Learning from
Experience at Work
Page: 24
Improving
Your Memory
in access to
arning to ga
Remember to register on CSreLesources that have been
e learning
ent
a full catalogue of on-lin
t departments and repres
en
m
rn
ve
go
ss
ro
ac
m
fro
selected
er.
oducts to help you furth
the best examples of pr
You can gain support
and information on
t,
Leadership, Managemen
and the Core Skills that
are considered essential
to being an effective
civil servant.
7
You can also access the full range
of virtual products provided by
Ashridge and GoodPractice via the
CS Learning website.
Page: 25
Summary Wall
To view all reference material and links referred to in this guide see the
summary wall below for your reference
1. Introduction
IBM story
Cafe culture case studies
Institute of Employment Studies
Books and Articles
Research
Civil Service Learning website
360° feedback
Learning Resources
Civil Service Learning website
2. How to identify just what you need to learn
360° feedback
3. How to seize learning opportunities
Styles and preferences
4. Practical ways to
Learning – Its All In The Mindresearch
learn at work
a) Methods and techniques
Reflective practice
Practice-based professional learning
Blogging
Learning Journal
Benchmarking
Best practices
Transformational changes
After Action Review
Learn your way through change
Learning before, during and after Ashridge - A learning Organisation
Page: 26
Social Learning Theory
Role Models in Workplace Learning
Feedback Resources
Key Differences Between Coaching and
Mentoring
The Manager as Developer
Coaching: Grow your People
Enabling Success: Coaching
Cipd Coaching Fact Sheet
What is Mentoring?
Coach, Mentor, Or Buddy?
Sample of Mentoring Contract
Cycle of learning
Action Learning Sets fact sheet
ALS Guidance
Team Learning Resources
View Three Great Ways To Link Up Today!
How Can I Find Out More?
Online Resources and Social Bookmarking
What is Social Media?
Civil Wiki
Civil Service and The Role of Social Media
Bookboon
Google Scholar
WikiBooks
WikiVersity
Google
b) Materials and resources
The handbook of work based learning
Develop Yourself
CS Learning’s
Virtual Ashridge
GoodPractice
c) Learning journeys
SCS Learning Journey
G7 Learning Journey
SEO Learning Journey
EO Learning Journey
5. Making the most of your learning opportunities
Becoming a Better Learner
After Action Review
The Manager as Developer toolkit
[email protected]
Learning at Work in Action
Campaign for Learning Manager’s Guide
Manager as Developer toolkit
Evaluation of Learning at Work
6. What to do next?
No links appear in this chapter
7. Further reading and resources
The Four Stages of Learning
Adult Learning
NAICE research
Learning from Experience at Work
Improving Your Memory
CS Learning
Ashridge
GoodPractice
CS Learning website
Page: 27
Website:
http://civilservicelearning.civilservice.gov.uk/
Email:
[email protected]
CSL_LWG_v1-200112