What will your job be like in five years’ time? And what capabilities will you need to thrive? For most professions, these questions are impossible to answer. The nature of work has never been static, but the current pace of technological innovation makes answering more difficult than ever. Or so it seems, for in an ever-changing and ambiguous environment the one crucial skill is an adaptation.
Hopefully this insight doesn’t surprise you. The fact that more than 1.8 million people took the course ‘Learning how to learn: Powerful mental tools that help you master tough subjects’ on Coursera clearly shows a wide understanding of the importance of learning (which is the key to adaptation).
The ‘Learning how to learn’ course on Coursera is a great way to improve learning effectiveness. It intelligently blends neuroscience and common sense into practical advice. The course presents learning techniques and explains the workings of the brain in a pragmatic way. A great second step to improve your learning capabilities.
Yes, second step. Prior to focusing on learning effectiveness you need to become fully receptive to learning. That’s what Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford, calls a Growth mindset. She distinguishes two types of mindsets: a Fixed mindset and a Growth mindset. Someone with a Fixed mindset considers intelligence to be static while someone with a growth mindset considers it as something to develop.
These mindsets consist of underlying beliefs resulting in avoiding challenges instead of embracing them, giving up instead of persisting, ignoring negative feedback instead of learning from it and feeling threatened by the success of others instead of drawing inspiration from it. As a result, a Growth mindset leads to continuous improvement, greater levels of achievement and a greater sense of free will.
Establishing the Growth Mindset
That’s why every learning journey at Lepaya starts with discussing mindset. We help learners recognize parts of their personality and capabilities they might consider fixed and stimulate them to be open to growth. One tool we like to use for that is an escape room. In such a high pressure situation it becomes clear who steps up to embrace the challenge and who might shy away for a fear of failure. Afterwards we stimulate participants to jointly evaluate and relate the insights to mindset.
A second example method to explore mindset are facilitated discussions in small groups. Participants discuss in which situations they feel they adopt which mindset, how they could benefit from a different mindset and how they might develop towards it. Additionally, Lepaya’s blended approach allows for continuous learning outside the classroom. Notifications, reminders and probing questions continue to cultivate a growth mindset in the everyday turmoil.
Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant scientists of our time, once wrote: “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” That’s the growth mindset at its core: you should embrace your need to learn. Today more so than ever.
Also published on Medium.