I believe it is human nature to always want to develop, move forward and grow. Career development is about realising your potential. Becoming aware of the skills you have and developing them further and further throughout your life.

This means that it is vital for organisations to incorporate different ways of learning that appeal to each one of us. What does a learning process typically look like. The American educational theorist David Kolb developed a model in the 1970s which reflects the different stages of a learning curve. The Experiential Learning Model (ELM) consists of the following cycle:

  1. learning by concrete experience – with an open and curious mind
  2. reflection on that experience – looking at it from different view points
  3. formation of an abstract concept – how does the experience relate to previous experiences?
  4. experimenting – go ahead and try it out

The learning process can start with any of the 4 above mentioned steps, though typically it starts with the 1st step; a concrete experience. That is why learning by actually doing works so well. Most organisations acknowledge this. This results in different ways in which training courses and learning are offered, such as online tools, interactive trainings and work shadowing.

When designing a training and development program, attention is paid to hiring external experts and trainers. But how about the knowledge that is already available within your organisation? Each one of your staff members has a wealth of experience, professional expertise and knowledge to share. I think this rich source should be integrated into any development program.

The key to this integrated style of learning is networking and collaboration. For further inspiration take a look at the video below about the ‘Date to share’ program that was designed by British Telecom to tap into this wealth of information and make it available within the organisation.

This article is written by Via Career Coaching.


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