Neuroscience of Learning

How do we learn?
Recently we were approached by an organization to help them understand how people learn and how they could be more innovative and impactful. There are experts around the world researching and revealing deeper insights into the science of how we learn. We know from a foundational perspective that electro-chemical pathways are laid down, that myelin sheath coat our axons and embeds our learning. This myelin sheath improves the transmission of signals. This can result in us thinking faster and cleanlier.

When we think about organic learning I can’t help but watch my 2-year-old daughter. I have been amazed to see first hand how she dives into learning and how much she has become accomplished in, in such a short space of time! She:

• is curious;
• is excitable;
• is easily fascinated;
• is self-motivated;
• loves exploring;
• thrives on feedback;
• is creative and imaginative;

and much more.

Aren’t these the kind of qualities we look for in our team members in organizations? Could it be the case that they are innately present, and somehow we have stamped on them, extinguishing a lot of the great value that was once there?

Watching her play and how we interact with her has shown up some contrast frames that I see in organizations.

2 year old Jessica Organisations
She achieves something – she immediately jumps up and down and shouts “Yippee” in a loud voice. We then join in. Celebrations happen in a planned manner, way after the achievement.
She responds positively to both in the moment and later feedback, using it to her advantage and being grateful for the pointers. People often experience the threat response to planned, after the fact feedback.
She sets clear and realistic expectations of herself, constantly re-evaluating them – yesterday building a small tower of blocks, today using all the blocks she can find. We’re often not sure what is expected of us, or what we’re trying to develop in ourselves.
She is lovingly supported in her learning journey. When did you last get a hug every day at work for a week?

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