How Effectively Do You Learn?

talent development, training, learning, Yan Maschke, strategy, team facilitation, executive coaching, Cleveland Ohio

When saying “good-night” to my daughter, she shared with me that the school had the students answer some questions to help them understand their primary learning styles

Her top learning styles are auditory and kinesthetic (2 of the 3 main learning styles, with the 3rd being “visual”).

Intrigued, I shared with her that my primary learning styles are kinesthetic and visual. 

While it’s helpful to understand our learning preferences, it’s important to know that the most effective learning engages all elements of learning approaches.

According to the Learning Pyramid by the National Training Laboratory (NTL): 

  1. Traditional audio-visual classroom learning allows only 20% learning retention;

  2. Experiential learning and practicing what we learned enables 75% of retention. I am a huge fan and I heavily integrate experiential learning when I work with executives and their leadership teams to boost their effectiveness for sustained impact. 

  3. Learning retention rate goes up to 90% when the learner has to actually teach it to others

learning pyramid.jpg

Visual by Education Corner, adapted from the NTL Institute of Applied Behavioral Science Learning Pyramid

American companies spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development training according to a study done in 2012. Corporate working professionals apply only about 15% of what they learn in many corporate training and development programs on many cases, according to a survey by Association of Training and Development. 

As a leader, how effectively do you help your  people learn? How much of your talent development efforts are actually yielding positive results? How much of it is just wasted energy - like sand slipping through the fingers?

  • If you simply tell them what to do or give them an article or book, it’s likely 90-95% of the learning effort is wasted - not generating result; If you did both, 80% of the learning effort is wasted - 20% is retained.

  • If you show them how to do it (demonstration), or coach them on how to do it, now they can retain up to 30-50% of the learning.

  • If you encourage them to apply their learning in real life and have them hold one another accountable for their practices, you are getting to the best practice zone of 75% learning retention

  • Nothing makes you learn faster than having to teach it. If you ask them to teach others what they have learned - you are truly maximizing the learning and talent development effort - at 90% learning retention rate. 

What is the one thing you can learn from the Learning Pyramid? What is the one thing you want to incorporate into your current talent development efforts (or helping your loved ones learn) - and practice it in the next 30 days? 

Who in your organization (or community, or family) can benefit if you were to teach them what you just learned - and you can best retain what you just learned