Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rene Descartes and Learning that Sticks

"Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems."
- Rene Descartes (1596-1650), "Discours de la Methode"

In my last post I mentioned that I should do several posts from this quote. Here's part II. In the last one I focused on building a "learning organization." This time I want to focus on "individual learning."

Many organizations focus on episodic training sessions to teach people the skills they need to do their job. Some go further and provide seminars to increase an employee’s enthusiasm and motivation. But again, it's done in an episodic somewhat disconnected manner.

Studies have shown that a person will retain, at most, about 10% to 20% of the content of a two hour training session or seminar. Add a consulting piece and that number increases to 30% to 35%. But add a coaching and/or a mentoring program and that number can go as high as 80%!!!

So make sure that you look at the big picture first, and then connect the pieces. Your organization's leaders and managers should make sure that team members understand the context of any training and that the training fits the context (that is the strategy and culture) of your organization. Then coach and mentor your people to use that training to solve the real problems they face and move the organization closer to it's Vision (it's preferred future state).

Be Wise,


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