Transfer Of Learning: Why it Matters

We are in a constant state of learning whether we like it or not from the moment of our birth. Unfortunately, sometimes the lessons we learn from our experiences may not necessarily be the correct ones. At the far end of the learning curve, it becomes harder at times to transfer learning from one seemingly unrelated scenario to another. However, a certain connectedness can happen organically if we have a ” spirit of learning” i.e. a motivation to learn. At times, some structured facilitation may open up new avenues of learning.

Some of you may have already asked me about how experiences in the outdoors can be transferred into a more indoor corporate environment. At a higher level of abstraction, when confronted with a risk/reward, fight/flight scenario, our behaviours in any setting will tend to be similar. What the outdoors represents is a classroom without walls. We tend to behave in a way natural to ourselves and without the veneer of double-guessing what is expected of us. The challenge for both the facilitator and participant is to work together to derive maximum lessons from individual or group behaviour.

Perhaps the best questions to apply to any situation to help the transfer are those which provoke thought about applications to our ‘ regular’ lives. These include asking yourself or your team:

  • How did this experience challenge you in a way you hadn’t expected?
  • In what ways could the same behaviours which led to success ( relating to a problem/challenge ) be applied in the office?
  • What mindsets helped, and which ones hindered a successful outcome?
  • What assumptions are we making now about the ‘correct’ formula for success, and is this applicable in ANY area of our personal/professional life?

There are more such ‘ coaching’ questions which assist self-directed learning. The trick is to have that spirit of learning, and to constantly use experiences or events in life and derive practical and effective learning from them through transference.